Governor Whitmer Announces Michigan Partnering with Ontario on Cross-Border Mobility Technologies

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Cross-border testbed will spur technology innovations and transportation solutions enhancing crossings by land, air and water

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that Ontario and Michigan are expanding their longstanding collaboration on transportation and cross-border activities through a new partnership to advance automotive and mobility technologies and help people and goods move safely and efficiently across the border by land, air and water.

The State of Michigan, through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) and the Ontario government, through Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, will begin a multi-year effort to deploy smarter and greener technologies at the border. As part of the effort, MDOT and AVIN have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore the implementation of a cross-border, multimodal testbed for advanced automotive and mobility solutions.

“Michigan is continuing to lead the way in developing, testing and deploying the solutions that will drive the future of transportation and we are excited to partner with the AVIN team in Ontario to secure the Michigan-Ontario border as the place where cross-border innovations in transportation are born,” said Governor Whitmer. “Through collaborations like this we can building on Michigan’s strength in automotive manufacturing while creating and environment for technology and mobility-related companies to thrive and grow.”

“Today’s partnership announcement shows how Michigan and Ontario are coming together to meet this, generational opportunity to address several of society’s most significant challenges, including the future of work and mobility,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “We are pleased to collaborate with our cross-border colleagues in Canada to deliver more equitable, affordable, and environmentally sustainable mobility and technology solutions for our people and economy, which will create jobs and improve quality of life in both nations.”

The collaboration between Michigan and Ontario will seek to meet the following goals:

  • Identifying the potential economic, social and environmental benefits from increased collaboration in mobility technologies between Ontario and Michigan.
  • Identifying issues and challenges for both people and goods related to specific types of border crossing (by land, air and water) and how mobility technologies could offer solutions.
  • Exploring the regulatory and policy considerations involved.
  • Developing a roadmap for implementation, including steps to establish multimodal cross-border pilots for mobility technologies.

“This exciting joint venture with Ontario builds on the extensive work underway to make Michigan a global leader in the development and deployment of mobility technologies that will benefit society, protect the environment and strengthen our economy,” said Paul C. Ajegba, Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. “The MOU formalizes a new chapter in cooperation between two industry ecosystems combining generations of automotive heritage with word-class talent in advanced technologies.”

“Advancements in transportation technology have the potential to make the way we travel and transport goods safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Caroline Mulroney, Ontario Minister of Transportation. “By working together to explore and advance new and innovative mobility technologies, we’re taking steps to ensure Ontario and Michigan stay at the forefront of the evolving transportation industry.”

As a first action under the new MOU, a joint Request for Proposals (RFP) is now underway to study and analyze the economic potential of expanded border capacity and other benefits that can be achieved by leveraging advanced automotive and smart mobility solutions at international border crossings. The closing date for RFP submissions is Monday, September 13, 2021 at 12:00 (noon) ET. For further information, please click or

Combined, Ontario and Michigan are responsible for about 22 percent of North America’s automotive output. The state and province share a highly integrated automotive supply chain, with vehicle parts crossing the border several times before rolling off the assembly line in finished vehicles.

In addition, many companies operate on both sides of the border, with engineering expertise and technology innovation shared between the two centers of automotive manufacturing and technology.

“This collaboration with Ontario is an important acknowledgement of the importance of cross-border movement of goods and people as we work to build a stronger economy through safer, more equitable and environmentally conscious transportation here in Michigan,” said Trevor Pawl, Chief Mobility Officer with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. “Working together with our partners in Ontario, we can set the groundwork, and testbed, for cross-border transportation solutions that improve international crossing throughout the United States and Canada.”

“This pioneering collaboration illustrates the combined strengths of Ontario and Michigan as innovation partners at the leading edge of electric, connected, autonomous and mobility technologies,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “This forward-looking approach is essential to ensure our region remains at the forefront of a global industry that is fiercely competitive and continually subject to the forces of technology disruption.”

Quick Facts

  • In 2017, Michigan and Ontario collaborated on North America’s first cross-border automated vehicle test drive.
  • In 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification. It works across state government, academia and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility ecosystem, including developing dynamic mobility and electrification policies and supporting the start up and scale up of emerging technologies and businesses.
  • More than half of Michigan’s automotive suppliers conduct automated vehicle testing in the state. Michigan offers more than 600 miles of roadway equipped for connected vehicle testing, and it is building the road of the future with a new 40-mile connected corridor project being led by MDOT and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification.
  • Ontario has more than 300 companies and organizations pioneering connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. This ecosystem is strengthened by the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), led by Ontario Centre of Innovation. It connects the province's world-leading automotive and technology sectors, high-quality post-secondary institutions, first-class talent and regional infrastructure to support entrepreneurship and create jobs.
  • Ontario’s 2021 Budget announced further support for the auto sector by investing C$56.4 million over the next four years to build on the successful elements of AVIN and create the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN). OVIN’s expanded mandate will help foster the next generation of electric, connected and autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies in Ontario.
  • Ensuring southwestern Ontario is prepared for future growth and the introduction of new technologies like connected and automated vehicles is part of Ontario’s draft transportation plan for southwestern Ontario.
  • For 2020, two-way goods trade between Michigan and Ontario was valued at $44.8 billion (C$60.1 billion). The state and province are each other’s top export customer. This trade relationship supports thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.
  • More than 25% of the more than $700 billion in annual trade between the U.S. and Canada crosses between Windsor and Detroit, the most active border crossing in North America.

Additional Resources

Media Contacts
Michigan Department of Transportation
Michael Frezell, Communications Manager
[email protected]

Michigan Economic Development Corporation/Office of Future Mobility and Electrification
Otie McKinley, Media and Communications Manager
[email protected]

Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Rebecca Bozzato
Minister Fedeli’s Office
[email protected]

Sumita Kanga
MEDJCT Communications Branch
[email protected]

Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Natasha Tremblay
Minister Mulroney’s Office
[email protected]

Nicholas Rodrigues
MTO Communications Branch
[email protected]

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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