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Fahad Khan, MEPP '11

Engineering & Public Policy | Driving into the future

For several months toward the end of 2021, Torontonians heading to the Rouge Hill GO station will be able to catch a ride on an automated electric shuttle.

The pilot project to test out the use of a small self-driving public transit vehicle will remain under the watchful eye of a human attendant.

But Fahad Khan, who spent almost five years working for the City of Toronto as a project lead on the shuttle, is building his career around the day when self-driving and connected vehicles become the new way we travel.

Khan, a civil engineer who earned his master’s degree in engineering and public policy in 2011, says he’s been fortunate to land in the challenging and innovative world of automated and connected vehicles.

Now a senior engineer in the Intelligent Transportation Systems office at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, he plans and leads complex advanced traffic management projects across the province.

As well as being recognized as North America’s first municipal staffer hired for an Automated Vehicles portfolio, Khan had a hand in developing Toronto’s Automated Vehicles Tactical Plan to prepare the city for driverless vehicles.

“Just as the horse-and-buggy slowly gave way to the automobile, ushering a new way we travel through the world, society is currently in the early stages where we will shift away from human guided automobiles to machine managed automobiles,” he says. “It’s exciting to see this change happen first-hand.”

Khan, who grew up in the Middle East and came to Canada as the child of immigrants, says he’s trying not to get comfortable with the status quo.

“My parents have been a strong inspiration to help me constantly look for the next challenge, the next job opportunity and the next avenue for professional and personal growth.”

He adds that he gets satisfaction from helping others enter the industry and launch their careers, and urges students to put in effort, stay optimistic and persevere.

“Never give up on self improvement,” he says. “The best investment you can make in life is in yourself.”

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