It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Hamilton: the city not only boasts a broad array of programs and support but investment and growth figures also show evidence of momentum. In 2018, the Ontario Centre of Innovation launched the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM) as one of six Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDSs) supporting innovators to bring smart mobility and automotive technology solutions to market, and expand the ecosystem that supports these businesses as they evolve clean, safe, and efficient transportation.
At the time, the government’s investment in Hamilton’s CITM, further validated this region as an entrepreneurial and innovation hub, and was welcome news for transportation technology innovators. The success of Innovation Factory signaled demand for programming and resources to support entrepreneurial growth and development was already high. For start-ups seeking to advance transportation and smart city technology solutions, Hamilton offered an abundance of options to focus on with the presence of an international airport, extensive train systems, a shipping port, public transit, and established rural and urban roadways. In terms of higher education, a prerequisite to knowledge acquisition and exchange, Hamilton was home to two leading academic institutions with McMaster, consistently ranked as Canada’s top research intensive university, and Mohawk College, also ranked nationally in applied research. Finally, with a strong manufacturing history, Hamilton offered plenty to support innovators as they developed, tested, and validated new technologies that advanced the future of smart mobility. Hamilton seemed a perfect location for an investment supporting transportation innovation.
It has been a few years since CITM launched yet the transformation occurring in the automotive and mobility industry appears to be gaining traction and momentum is building at an astounding rate. Southwestern Ontario has always been a strategic location for automotive innovation and currently boasts:
- 100+ years as a leading automotive manufacturing and supply jurisdiction
- The second largest vehicle assembler in North America
- Five automobile manufacturing facilities with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota
- 700+ automotive supplier companies
- 500+ tool, die, and mold companies
- The second largest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cluster in North America
In terms of the city, some recent examples of Hamilton’s growth and potential include:
- Recognition as a global Top 7 Intelligent Community (2018 and 2020)
- Designated a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)
- Funded to support improved transit systems and the deployment of electric vehicle chargers in an effort to reduce emissions within the transportation sector
- The launch of the Smart Mobility R&D Network allowing for product testing and validation across multiple sites and scenarios
- Invited to participate in the City Possible Advisory Board – a global panel seeking to define and raise awareness of key issues faced by municipalities as they plan for smart cities of the future. That discussion will most definitely include the safe, clean, and efficient movement of goods and people.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger notes, “We look forward to the opportunities ahead as we rebuild an even stronger economy post-pandemic. Partnerships like ours with the Centre for Integrated Transportation ensure that we continue to support entrepreneurs and particularly innovators within Hamilton. Collaboration in key sectors like transportation creates good, future-focused jobs and ensures relevance by impacting change. Hamilton has a known industrial spirit, and the ecosystem of innovation that CITM brings solidifies our position as a hub for technology development related to the automotive and transportation sectors.”
For innovators, this partnership is great news. CITM recently launched a multi-site test network in collaboration with key partners, including the City of Hamilton, allowing start-ups to test and validate technology solutions. Both organizations also worked together to establish a data framework and visuals as part of this technology resource. Multiple businesses also engaged in transportation and smart city pilot projects as a result of collaborations initiated by CITM, and scaled deployment is anticipated. Recent projects include a Waste Management Project by Iris Inc., and an Air Quality Project with Ecosystem Informatics Inc. Recognizing the City of Hamilton as an integral member of the innovation ecosystem CITM’s Director, Richard Dunda notes, “CITM’s priority is supporting innovators as they develop and commercialize smart, connected, and alternate transportation technology solutions. The team at the City of Hamilton has been tremendous to work with and allowed us to support our clients in two primary ways: as a key partner in the development of a testing facility that allows businesses to test and validate new technologies; and also actively support pilot projects within the city, having successfully completed several with our clients. The city of Hamilton is not only an essential partner supporting startups but also advancing our region as a leader in integrated transportation and related technology innovation.”
As partners, the City of Hamilton and CITM are well positioned to support entrepreneurs focused on smart mobility solutions including electric, connected, and automated vehicle technology. Collaboratively, they boast a myriad of resources focused on advancing Hamilton as a multi-transportation innovation corridor. The need to develop safe, clean, and efficient methods of transporting goods and people is well known, and the possibilities available thanks to this partnership, are limitless.
Watch these videos to see examples of collaborations CITM has facilitated between our innovators and the City of Hamilton: