CUTRIC COVID-19 Mitigation Plan for Members & External Relations

During this difficult time for Canadians and citizens worldwide, the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) is working hard to ensure our operations remain uninterrupted and that we continue to deliver the highest quality services that we can to each of our Members and allied stakeholders.

In light of the challenges associated with COVID-19 and the unfolding economic crisis emanating from market crashes allied to the pandemic, the Canadian Urban Transit Research & Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) has prepared the following COVID-19 Mitigation Plan for Members & External Relations as part of our ongoing effort to deliver high-quality value to our Members in transit, private industry, academic, public sector, utility, non-profit and consulting services

As a community of global thinkers and local actors, Canada will heal from this crisis. We will emerge stronger with better plans for future catastrophe mitigation. 

CUTRIC is working to be part of the long-term solution going forward.

Section 1: Stimulus Funding for Members (federal & provincial)

CUTRIC always has innovative, consortium-based technical projects on the go. We never lack for proposals that we can put together quickly to serve our Members’ needs.

Over the past seven days, CUTRIC has formulated and submitted a half-dozen stimulus package submissions to federal and provincial governments (a few are summarized below).

All of these submissions are based on program work and proposal development that our team has been working on and lobbying for over the past 12 months. Your membership fees and your membership engagement allow us to turn around these major bids on your behalf in short periods of time. We thank you for that support.

CUTRIC is reaching out to all of our Members, one by one, to gain your input into our stimulus submissions.

  1. CUTRIC Federal Stimulus Package Submission (March 2020) #1

    $10 million for nation-wide ZEB Simulation & ZEB Roll Out Plans for CUTRIC transit agency members in need of immediate full-fleet battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric bus, charging and fuelling systems modelling and predictive analysis, combined with site assessments, civil works assessments and facilities design assessments to help Canada achieve 5,000 electric buses legitimately by 2025.
    1. We envision deploying all $10 million of this fund with our transit members within three weeks to 24 months from now to launch the ZEB Predictive Analysis and ZEB Roll Out Plans to hire personnel (data analysts, planners and operations), and co-fund transit-led ZEB Roll Out Plans and preparations at the local level immediately. 
  2. CUTRIC Federal Stimulus Package Submission (March 2020) #2

    $30 million to launch the CUTRIC-led national ACES Big Data Trust for Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared Mobility, as part of extending smart cities nation-wide through transit data-fication, building on CUTRIC’s CloudTransit™ mini-data trust that is emerging through our Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial in Vancouver, Brampton and York Region.
    1. We envision deploying $10 million within three to 18 months from now to fully launch the data trust, hire personnel (data analysts and operations), and co-fund industry-transit data analytics technology projects and intellectual property development to enable job growth in this sector immediately so that transit agencies can turn to our consortium of partners to do their analytics rapidly and cheaply.
  3. CUTRIC Provincial-Ontario Stimulus Package Submission (March 2020)

    $2.5 million to renew the CUTRIC-Ontario Research and Development Funding Program that ran from 2016-2019 and which has created more than 100 new jobs directly in highly-qualified fields linked to electrification, automation, cybersecurity, data analysis for mobility, light-weighting and gender parity in mobility technology.
    1. We envision deploying all $2.5 million within six months to fully renew the CUTRIC-Ontario R&D Funding Program for Innovation in Low-Carbon Smart Mobility technology development with our industry and academic partners, thereby creating 37.5 new highly qualified jobs in Ontario.
    2. We can deploy another $7.5 million over 16 months based on a fully renewed the CUTRIC-Ontario R&D Funding Program for Innovation in Low-Carbon Smart Mobility technology development with our industry and academic partners, thereby creating 112.5 new highly qualified jobs in Ontario.
  4. CUTRIC Provincial-British Columbia Stimulus Package Submission (March 2020)

    Coming up, $3 million to launch the long-lobbied for CUTRIC-British Columbia Research and Development Funding Program to run from 2020-2023, which will create more than 50 new jobs directly in highly-qualified fields linked to electrification, automation, cybersecurity, data analysis for mobility, light-weighting and gender parity in mobility technology.
    1. We envision deploying all $3 million within 24 months to launch a full CUTRIC-British Columbia R&D Funding Program for Innovation in Low-Carbon Smart Mobility technology development with our industry and academic partners, thereby creating 45 new highly qualified jobs in British Columbia.

CUTRIC is also exploring reviving its 2017 supercluster submission made to Minister Navdeep Bains for $250 million in federal funding to leverage more than $500 million in CUTRIC Industry Member commitments for Low-Carbon Smart Mobility (LCSM) Innovation Supercluster technology initiatives. Many of those projects are still viable. More information on this will follow in upcoming weeks.

Section 2: Improved Digitized Member Value Period 

CUTRIC’s history has always been highly digitized and we have historically offered most of our services through online platforms. In an era of COVID-19, we have found ourselves capable of nimbly and quickly converting to a full work-from-home structure with a conversion to 100 per cent digital platforms for all membership engagement activities, including services as complex as those related to deploying the Pan-Canadian Electric Bus Demonstration & Integration Trial (Phase I) across two provinces, three cities, four private companies, and four public sector entities (transit and utility). 

As of March 8th 2020, CUTRIC digitized all of our services going forward to enable unimpeded Member value, including fully functional project planning sessions for technological, financial, and political planning around electric bus and hydrogen fuel cell bus joint procurements, smart shuttle joint procurements, big data solutions for cloud-connected transit data optimization, and power providers working group initiatives aimed at utility strategizing for heavy-duty fleet electrification this year.

We have also delayed several core meetings scheduled for March and early-April by two to three weeks to allow our Members time to manage their own COVID-19 operational strategies before working in an ongoing fashion on long-term efforts that will become critically relevant again later this year when the crisis passes.

CUTRIC works to recuperate the costs of its ongoing research and project management services – delivered on behalf of its Members nationally – through small fees charged for technical planning sessions both online and in-person. To support its Members during this time, CUTRIC will waive those fees for Members for the remainder of the year (2020) to help Members gain easier and faster access to ongoing efforts in technical innovation during a period of self-isolation and social distancing.

CUTRIC is impassioned by the desire to deliver these services even better than we have done before. CUTRIC aims to maintain an unhindered commitment to term technical and project development processes to best serve our Members so that when they are ready to turn their attention back to technology innovation, we will be there to support them with up-to-date outcomes and answers.

Section 3: Digitizing our Successful National Conference on BEBs, FCEBs & Autonomous Shuttles

Large gatherings are currently being banned nation-wide.

Therefore, as an already highly-digital team, we have taken up the challenge to move our national conference — 2nd Canadian Low-Carbon Smart Mobility Technology Conference: Zero Emissions Transit & Data Driven Smart Mobility – to a fully digitized platform.

This Conference is simply too important to cancel. 

We can make it safe, robust and – in classic CUTRIC style – pack it with much-needed information about the future of electrification and mobility in Canada.

We know that our Transit Members and cities need guidance on how to get to 5,000 electric buses and autonomous shuttles in the near-term future. We know first-kilometre / last-kilometre problems need solutions in a post-COVID 19 world. And we know the energy sector is looking to CUTRIC for leadership in helping to covert the industry to be transit- and fleet-aware going forward.

We are here to deliver that value.

CUTRIC’s staff is reaching out to our Sponsors, Keynote Speakers, Panelists, Registered Participants, and Members to complete a round of one-on-one interviews and outreach engagement to solicit your feedback as we plan for an exciting and globally-critical Conference ahead.

While our nation is doing a brilliant job of banding together as communities to socially isolate and distance, and our political leaders are working to figure out how to help us get healthy, social active and economically sustainable once more, CUTRIC can do its part by focusing on the long-term goals of climate action, transportation transformation, and energy systems overhauls that help us all prepare for a century ahead of unknowns in which fast, cheap and green transit and mobility will be undeniably fundamental to our sustainability as a human species.

Section 4: Membership in Good Standing Extension

We realize that during this time our Members are occupied with critical operational concerns of their own across the transit, industry and public sectors alike.  

While our membership policies stipulate that Membership in Good Standing requires membership payment within the first 60-days of the year, CUTRIC is extending that period to encompass the first 180-days of the year for Members who are renewing from 2019.

Additionally, CUTRIC is offering its Members the following options to enable access to Membership services – including technical planning sessions and Members’ rates at our national conference in June:

  • Waiving transaction fees associated with paying by credit card.
  • Offering payment plans for membership fees (in quarterly installments) for Members with fees over $1,000 per annum.

These solutions will allow our 2019 Members to gain access to our 2020 technical planning sessions, event registrations, online webinars and conference registrations at significantly reduced Membership rates for those events while getting their invoice paid up in due time. Any Member that requires this extension is asked to contact our Membership Success Officer, Adriana Shu-Yin to request the extension and enable your file to be updated so that the post-90 day penalty fee of 3.5% is waived on your behalf.

Section 5: CUTRIC COVID-19 Continuity Plan: Internal Operations

Our staff are highly valuable to us and we want to ensure CUTRIC’s operations do not expose any of our staff to risk above and beyond what society is already exposed to.

As an already highly-digitized team of low-carbon smart mobility commercialization and business liaison officers, researchers, and operations staff, CUTRIC’s staff – located in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec – have been able to work unimpeded from home since March 6th 2020, when we imposed both a travel ban company-wide and a work-from-home memorandum to all staff. Our team will continue to work from home until otherwise directed by Health Canada and provincial public health departments. 

The fact CUTRIC already operated a majority of the time on digital platforms (including Zoom conferencing, Google video conferencing, Smartsheets, Trello and other cloud-based project management and operations software) means our team stays connected and united in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also means we are able to maintain our collective outreach to one another during this time, given that several of our staff have direct and extended family members experiencing the pandemic in China, Iran, India, Haiti, Brazil, and Croatia right now. These family networks among our highly diverse and multicultural staff is part of what makes us a small but mighty organization. In the face of a global threat, it is what humanizes us. 

CUTRIC has implemented a robust COVID-19 Mitigation Pan for Internal Staff to ensure the safety and physical and mental health of our staff.  

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Coordinator to the CEO, Grace Reilly. As matters progress, we will update this COVID-19 Mitigation Plan for Member & External Relations, which will be posted online at www.cutric-crituc.org.