Announcement regarding Bear Tracks Pilot Project
June 15, 2023
After nearly one year, the Bear Tracks Connected and Automated Vehicle demonstration project in the City of White Bear Lake – known as Bear Tracks – has come to an end. Operations of the shuttle concluded because the shuttle manufacturer was purchased by another company and restructured. The restructuring resulted in a lack of technical support needed to operate the shuttle.
While Bear Tracks operations concluded prior to the planned end date, the pilot accomplished many of the project goals, including:
- Tested the technology in a real-world setting and a broad spectrum of weather conditions to ensure the technology is functional for Minnesotans.
- Provided growing awareness in the community about emerging transportation technologies.
- Exposed the workforce of tomorrow to future career opportunities.
- Ensured emerging technologies can meet a variety of community needs through inclusive planning.
- Gained insights on public perceptions of CAV technology and the impact exposure to the technology has on those perceptions.
Beyond the project goals, the cross-sector partnership which launched the Bear Tracks project is an exceptional model of collaborative work, which leveraged a wide range of perspectives to enhance project design.
Bear Tracks partners would like to thank everyone who participated, whether it was attending an event, riding the shuttle or participating in research. Additionally they would like to acknowledge the hard work of early supporters who brought the project to White Bear Lake. Project partners will continue to work on documenting the learnings from the Bear Tracks pilot which will be shared in a final report later this year.
Meet Bear Tracks
MnDOT, through its statewide Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Office, has selected White Bear Lake as one of three demonstration projects in the state. The goal is to provide a safe transportation option to residents in the state, particularly those who may not be able to drive independently or travel easily.
The service is free, open to the public, and the project will:
- Familiarize the public with Connected & Automated Vehicle (CAV) technology
- Gather lessons learned for CAV operations in all weather conditions
- Provide innovative mobility options for persons with disabilities and seniors
The Bear Tracks Shuttle
SHUTTLE OPERATIONS HAVE CONCLUDED
Did you know?
A safety operator will be onboard the shuttle at all times to verify the safe operation of the vehicle and aid passengers as needed.
Where & What: Project Background
- Bear Tracks is a research and demonstration project that involves a low speed (10-12 mph), self-driving, electric, multi-passenger shuttle operating in White Bear Lake, MN for one year.
- The shuttle can carry up to eleven seat-belted passengers at this time and up to one wheel chair passenger at a time.
- Free for the public to ride.
- The shuttle’s route is 1.5 miles long and serves a White Bear Lake residential street connecting a day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, affordable housing, and the community YMCA.
- PAI Inc.
- The Boulders
- Willow Wood Apartments
- White Bear Area YMCA
Public interested in riding the shuttle can board at the YMCA, and should park at the west end of the lot.
Why: Project goals
Research & Demonstration
This is a research and demonstration vehicle and project and we expect to learn a lot from the project and learn about its current limitations. Key goals include:
Help advance technology so it could one day be realistic transportation option for communities
All Weather Conditions
Improve The Future of Minnesota
Connected and automated vehicles have the potential to provide many benefits to Minnesota residents, businesses and visitors, including: