Brampton is growing – and it’s growing fast! 2.5 times faster than the national average. But the city is not being complacent, instead, it’s being smart about its growth through t​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​he Brampton 2040 Vision: Living the Mosaic; a citizen-first plan that guides what Brampton will become over the next quarter century. In short, a connected, inclusive, and innovative smart city.

The city’s Vision 2040 initiative began in mid-2017, and it wasn’t something that was developed in isolation; rather, the city engaged several hundred thousand people in Brampton from all backgrounds to participate. Citizens contributed through methods like community events, workshops at City Hall, social media platforms, and through the city’s website.

Design of how Brampton will look in 2040

This extensive and very inclusive engagement process led to the creation of “The People’s Vision,” revealing what it would mean to “live the mosaic” in Brampton.

Imagine this:

  • A heart to draw everyone and shift the balance of local jobs – new Uptown and reset Downtown.
  • Jobs within communities – five new Town Centres. 
  • Thriving arts scene – Arts Street as a unique maker-place, art hubs in the cores and spontaneously elsewhere. 
  • Complete living – revitalized existing districts, model new neighbourhoods, refreshed Bramalea, boulevard lifestyle along central Queens.
  • Everything connected – transit network and new core loop, walking and cycling networks, virtual networks, and new travel technologies exploited.
  • Beauty brought back – streets for people, trees everywhere, designed communities, aesthetic buildings.
  • Nature brought back – new Eco-Park, sustainable living integrated into everything.
  • Social and health harmony – local hands tackling local problems.
  • Organizations to act – local forces with resources, networks and leadership at hand.
  • A way to act – five proven tools for success.

Technology and Brampton’s Vision for the Future

In this article, we explore some of the ways technology will play a pivotal role in realizing Brampton’s vision. As outlined in Lens 4, Brampton is poised to stay ahead of the curve in adopting new technological advancements, right from the design process level, knowing that it will solve problems, enhance efficiencies, and transform how the city operates. With early identification, understanding, integration, and application of technological innovation, Brampton aims to make technology work for the city’s benefit, while avoiding distorting the urban environment.

3 key areas where technology will be leveraged in the next decade and a half in Brampton are:

  • Digital city services
  • Transport and Connectivity
  • Sustainable Energy

1. Digital City Services

Brampton has been actively advancing its digital city services through a range of strategic initiatives.

In 2019, it launched a 311 website and app for residents to provide single-window access to municipal government information, programs and services provided by the City of Brampton. The website/app allows citizens to search for information, submit service requests, receive updates, and track their requests easily. These requests are automatically uploaded to the City’s 311 system and assigned to the appropriate departments for resolution.

For businesses, Brampton’s Digital Main Street has been a welcome initiative providing a Digital Service Squad to brick-and-mortar businesses to enhance their digital presence and capabilities. From basic website setup and Google Business Profiles to social media management and digital marketing strategies, the Digital Service Squad equips businesses with essential tools and knowledge for digital transformation.

screenshot of the 311 homepage

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With Vision 2040, we will see a lot more of:

  • Broadband communications capacity deployment and ‘smart city’ civic monitoring technology in key areas like Uptown, Downtown, and Town Centres
  • Leveraging available real-time data and analytics, to optimize resource allocation, improve service delivery, reduce energy consumption, enhance public safety, and streamline operations.

2. Transport and Connectivity

Brampton is placing significant emphasis on transportation tech, much like global trends, because there is an urgent need to address the imminent changes in how people travel. From emerging technologies to entirely new modes of travel that will reshape how public spaces are utilized, Brampton sees this as a huge opportunity to become a pioneering model in Canada.

Back in 2017, Brampton was globally recognized and honoured with two Smart 50 Awards for transformative projects – the Automatic Vehicle Monitoring (AVM) system for Brampton Transit and the Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) system for other city vehicles. AVM allows Brampton Transit to monitor vehicles’ health status to increase the reliability and state-of-good repair of the City’s bus fleet, and AVL provides real-time bus locations, schedule adherence, and incident information to the Brampton Transit Control Centre.

Now, Brampton has embraced digital innovation in traffic management through its Connected Vehicle Pilot program as well. By leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) technology at 10 intersections, the city has enabled real-time traffic information delivery to dashboard-mounted devices, subsequently sharing this data on the City’s open data site.

Design of the interior of a self-driving car

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The city continues to anticipate a rapid influx of new travel technologies, VIsion 2040  plans for:

  • The introduction of self-driving private and public vehicles, various forms of shared travel such as personally-driven, self-driven, or chauffeured options, adoption of alternative sustainable fuels for vehicles, implementation of digital network supports for trip planning, and the development of new personal travel devices.
  • To make this transition smooth, Brampton is taking a proactive approach by creating specific policies and plans for accepting autonomous driving, including designated rights-of-way and aligning with ‘Vision Zero’ road safety goals.

3. Sustainable Energy

Brampton’s City Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and a GHG emission reduction target of 80% by 2050. Its sustainable energy initiatives lie at the forefront of its smart city vision, focusing on reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency. The city has much to be proud of already, such as the approval of the Brampton Eco Park Strategy and the Brampton One Million Trees Program (by 2040).

Brampton also welcomed its first Nova Bus electric bus in 2021, these buses are battery-powered by electricity, with electric motors, no transmission and zero tailpipe emissions, and each bus only needs 3-7 minutes to charge fully.

Some more key initiatives that align with Brampton’s Sustainable Energy Vision 2040 include:

  • 52 electric vehicle charging stations installed city-wide to encourage staff and residents to choose greener vehicles
  • The development of North America’s largest electric bus transit facility under Brampton Transit
  • Solar panels at five City facilities
  • Six City facilities using geothermal technology
  • The implementation of Brampton’s inaugural Urban Forest Management Plan
  • Execution of the Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP)

Graphic showing the key initiatives of Brampton's Sustainable Energy Vision 2040

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The Community Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan (CEERP) is an important collaboration between the City and Sheridan College to unite municipal efforts, local utilities, and community stakeholders. This plan will map out strategies to enhance energy efficiency, cut greenhouse gas emissions, ensure energy security, boost economic benefits, and enhance resilience to climate change.

The CEERP plan is driven by the goal of transforming Brampton’s energy future into one that is clean, sustainable, and resilient. Brampton’s green tech solutions will play an essential role in serving as a catalyst in achieving CEERP’s goals, some examples are:

  • Targeting an increase in the electric share of light-duty vehicles to 22% and heavy-duty vehicles to 7%.
  • Focusing on achieving efficiency gains for gas/diesel vehicles by 36% and electric vehicles by 20% from 2016 levels.
  • Installing solar hot water in stable residential areas, serving 10% of hot water and heating needs in homes not served by district energy with solar hot water.
  • Generating significant amounts of solar power installed on suitable rooftops and other locations, aiming to supply 8% of Brampton’s electricity needs with locally generated solar power.
  • Implementing district energy in high-growth districts with a mix of combined heat and power and other low-carbon heating and cooling sources.

The Future of Work in Brampton

In Brampton’s vision for the future of work, the city aims to address key subjects such as job availability, vibrant community experiences, housing and job proximity, creation of hive activity places, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

  • Uptown Brampton is poised to turn into a custom-designed, transit-oriented hub that will attract top-ranked companies, visitors, and developers with its futuristic image, expressive architecture, and modern amenities.
  • To attract businesses, Brampton plans to offer complete, mixed-use Town Centres with ample workspace and nearby housing options. Five new Town Centres will be strategically located around central Brampton, with diverse amenities and transit connections. Each Centre will have a unique identity and master plan, fostering competition and innovation. Essential to their success are dedicated management groups, design studios, business development collaboratives, and community advisory panels, ensuring ongoing engagement and support for local businesses and residents.
  • The city will continue to host extensive warehousing, logistics, and industrial districts, which are crucial to the local economy.

Design of how Brampton will look in 2040

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Apart from the above plans, Brampton is already charging ahead with its innovation economy, evidenced by multiple initiatives and investments in key industries, relevant technology, and entrepreneurship.

Automotive Industry: Brampton has emerged as a leading hub for electric vehicle supply chains, seen through significant investments of $3.6 billion by Stellantis, the federal and provincial governments, to revamp its Brampton facility for producing battery-electric and hybrid vehicles.

Space and Robotics Industry: MDA‘s decision to establish its global headquarters and Space Robotics Centre of Excellence in Brampton underscores the city’s prowess in advanced technologies. The 200,000 sq. ft. facility, housing around 850 highly skilled employees, will spearhead groundbreaking projects like Canadarm3, showcasing Brampton’s role as an international player in space missions and robotics.

Cybersecurity Industry: Furthermore, Brampton has also been proactive in addressing cybersecurity challenges, collaborating with Ryerson University and Sheridan College to offer specialized cybersecurity courses. Additionally, the launch of Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst – aligns perfectly with the city’s vision to establish itself as the cybersecurity capital of Canada.

And finally, Brampton’s Innovation District stands out as a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem within Canada’s Innovation Corridor. It attracts startups, entrepreneurs, and large corporations, providing them with space, resources, and networking opportunities to thrive and commercialize their technology.

By embracing technology, entrepreneurship, and sustainable economic development, as a transformative force, Brampton is surely set on a trajectory to achieve its vision of becoming a connected, inclusive, and innovative city!

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