Back in June, we talked about the upcoming annual AJAC EcoRun, put on by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. It was held this year from June 20 - 23 across New Brunswick, with stops in Moncton, Saint John, Bay of Fundy and Fredericton.
AJAC has posted their summary video of the 2-day, 570-kilometre event, which includes interviews with a number of the journalists participating, spotlights on some of the 19 eco-friendly vehicles in the run, plus some scenic views of New Brunswick. This is the first time that the EcoRun was held in New Brunswick, a province with 48 charging stations and an initiative to install 12 more, putting it well on its way to being Canada's first fully connected province.
At the end of the EcoRun, the Green Jersey is awarded to the journalist who has the best overall fuel economy across all the vehicles they drove. This year it was awarded to Jim Kerr from exhausted.ca. Overall, the AJAC journalists achieved a combined fuel economy of 4.86 L/100 km in comparison to Natural Resource Canada's (NRCan) combined rating for these vehicles of 6.45 L/100 km.
At the Green Jersey award ceremony, Jim shared a few strategic tips: "I didn’t boot it very hard. I tried to keep to the speed limit ... letting off on the throttle down hills and keeping uphill speeds moderate. I kept the air conditioning off most of the time but, if it got really hot, I’d switch it on briefly. I also kept the windows closed at highway speeds, because the drag from open windows increases fuel consumption, and sometimes opened them in town."
You can read more about the AJAC EcoRun in the Summer 2018 issue of Vicarious Magazine. You can also get the detailed specs about how each vehicle in this year's EcoRun fared on the AJAC site.
It’s back to school season, Canada! Lots of young scholars are heading out to get their education on, which means an increase in local traffic, new young drivers on the road and plenty of tykes and bikes to watch out for on your daily commute.
Because it never hurts to have a refresher on safety, we’re sharing a round-up of our top back to school safety tips:
Most of our safety tips are for drivers, but it’s important to talk to your kids about safety. The RCMP Alberta have put together a short video that you can watch with your kids to discuss getting to school safely, whether walking, riding their bike or taking the bus.
Stay safe out there! And have a great school year!
For our summer vacation this year, we've decided to forgo one big, long, far-away trip and, instead, stay a little closer to home and do shorter day or overnight trips. We've treated some out-of-town guests to the usual things you do in Vancouver and area (Stanley Park, winery tour in the Okanagan, Vancouver Art Gallery). But what if you want to do something out of the ordinary? Luckily, Canada has a lot of unusual places to visit. I thought I'd highlight a few of them in a three-part Road Trip Trio. First up: Quirky Canadian Museums!
First off, right here in Vancouver we have the Vancouver Police Museum. Golly, this place is cool and creepy. I attended a ‘20’s themed dine-around in Vancouver a few years ago and the cocktails and appetizers were served at the museum. In the morgue. WEIRD but awesome. The VPM has great exhibits, tours and educational programs. If you have an interest in crime or forensics, it's definitely worth a visit. And if you can't make it out to the West Coast, check out their Instagram!
Next up, another museum that features bones ... this time dinosaur bones! The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alberta is the next best thing to visiting Jurassic World. The Royal Tyrrell hosts several educational programs as well a number of incredible exhibits, including the "Grounds for Discovery" exhibit where the Borealopelta markmitchelli, a new genus and species of armoured dinosaur that was discovered in Suncor's Millennium Mine, is housed.
If you have some time on your hands, check out the Canadian Clock Museum in Deep River, Ontario. Canada has a rich history in clock manufacturing. From Wood Gear clocks manufactured in the 1820s and 30s, to Kitchen Clocks manufactured by GE in the mid-20th century, to hand tools and benches for watch repair - the Canadian Clock Museum has a little something for everyone. My faves are the animated alarm clocks - I'm pretty sure my brother had the one with a Mountie on it! The Canadian Clock Museum has seasonal hours; make sure you check their website if you plan on visiting.
As someone who came of age during the Cold War, one of my favourite quirky museums in Canada is the Diefenbunker outside of Ottawa in Carp, ON. Commissioned by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1959, the Diefenbunker was part of the government’s reaction to escalating tensions in the Cold War. It was meant to house key members of the government and military in the event of a nuclear attack on Canada. Today, it preserves the history of the Cold War in an immersive and interactive environment. The Diefenbunker has rotating exhibits (like a recreation of a military canteen from the 1970s), educational workshops, an escape room experience and an annual zombie invasion. Check out this video for more info.
As our final quirky museum, something more lighthearted - the Accordion Museum in Montmagny, Quebec! This museum traces the musical importance of the accordion (aka the Squeeze Box) in Quebecois culture. They have on hand dozens of instruments and hundreds of hours of recorded archives for the public to listen to. This video describes the various exhibits and other interesting things at the museum.
Have you been to any of these cool museums? Are there any other quirky Canadian museums we should know about? What do you hope to discover this summer? Stay tuned for the second part of our Road Trip Trio - next week I’m sharing my favourite under-rated Canadian natural wonders: Niagara Falls, I’m not talkin' about you!
One of the things I do to keep my sanity when I commute is to celebrate the little victories: someone unexpectedly letting me merge, the line at the drive-thru coffee place not having a 10-car wait and not hitting every single red light on my way from my house to the highway. This last one is really the unicorn of commuting events - it almost never happens. And, like a lot of you, I think to myself as I'm sitting at the umpteenth red light in a row, "We can put a man on the moon; why can't they just sync these lights up?"
Well, it turns out they CAN sync them up. The City of Toronto is piloting two traffic light systems that use different implementations of artificial intelligence to adjust traffic signals in real-time, ideally reducing congestion, idling and ultimately, emissions, during peak use hours.
One of Toronto's pilot systems uses video cameras to measure car queue lengths at the approach to an intersection and then makes decisions about traffic light timing. The other system uses radar detection that measures traffic flow upstream and downstream of the intersection to make similar decisions. Toronto's pilot program started in November 2017 and is expected to run through 2018.
The City has not made results available yet, but the systems being tested are similar to a smart traffic light system that was implemented in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2012. Since the initial implementation, Pittsburg has been increasing their smart intersections over the last few years to a total of 50 intersections, with another 150 planned by 2020. So far, Pittsburgh has seen intersection wait times fall by 40%, journey time fall by 25% and emissions from idling cars on these commutes reduced by 20%.
This video features an interview with Stephen Smith, Director of the Intelligent Coordination and Logistics Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, where the smart traffic light system in Pittsburgh was first developed.
What do you think? If you're in Toronto, have you driven the route where these traffic lights are in place? Have you noticed an improvement in your commute? Would these work in your city? Let us know in the comments!
When I was young and we would descend on my grandparents for Thanksgiving, one of the main streets we traveled to get to their place was called "Electric Avenue." And we never failed to sing the Eddy Grant song chorus as we drove the last kilometre and pulled up to their door. The original "Electric Avenue" in the South London district of Brixton was a market street, the first such market street to be lit by electricity during the late 19th century.
Fast forward over a century later and Sweden has created their own Electric Avenue - but in this case, the road itself is electrified.
Sweden, as part of their national innovation strategy, is testing the efficacy of electrified roads. eRoadArlanda, a commercial company working with the Swedish Transport Administration and several other partners, has embedded an electric rail in a public road. When an appropriately equipped electric vehicle drives along the rail, an arm is lowered from the vehicle and makes contact with the rail. This transfers energy to the vehicle and keeps it moving as well as charging the onboard battery of the vehicle, eliminating the need to stop at a charging station.
eRoadArlanda's test is part of an overall plan by the Swedish Transport Administration to support the Swedish government's target of creating a fossil-free transportation infrastructure by 2030. Electrified-road transport is estimated to cut fossil fuel emissions by 80 to 90 percent.
What do you think? Would you drive an electric car along an electrified road? Is this a good option for reducing our fossil fuel emissions? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!