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Bern Grush - Grush Niles Strategic  | PayBySky. Toronto, ON, CA

Bern Grush

Strategy | Vice President Innovation | Grush Niles Strategic | PayBySky

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Transportation innovator, writer, speaker. Deployment and social policy: automated vehicles, parking, mobility as a service, & road tolling.





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Bern Grush (@TransitLeap) is a founder of Grush Niles Strategic and He is an innovator, speaker, and author on automated and autonomous vehicles as well as parking reform and road pricing. He has published over 400 papers and articles on transportation demand management issues, most recently detailing opportunities to re-think and re-deploy urban transit in the lead up to vehicle automation. He uses the site to advance preparation for fleets of self-driving taxis and buses. Bern holds degrees in Human Factors and Systems Design Engineering from the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo.

Bern has developed patents and technologies for telemetrics for autonomous road tolling, self-paid parking, HOT tolling and usage-based insurance. His work with ISO standards included the innovation and launch of the charging-performance standard for autonomous road and parking tolling systems (ISO-TS-17444). He lives in Toronto.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (11)

Autonomous Vehicles

autonomous cars

automated vehicles

automated cars

Self-Driving Cars

self-driving vehicles

driverless vehicles

Driverless cars

Parking Reform

Road Tolling

Mobility as a Service

Education (2)

University of Waterloo: Ma.Sc., Systems Design Engineering 1977

University of Toronto - Victoria University: Ba.Sc., Cognitive and Human Factors Psychology 1975

Affiliations (3)

  • Grush Niles Strategic : Partner
  • The End of Driving : Author
  • PayBySky: VP Innovation

Testimonials (4)

Macleans Magazine, Editorial | December 2016

"A fascinating and carefully argued report." In article: "Rise of automated vehicles influences infrastructure project selection".

Alain L. Kornhauser, PhD, Professor, Operations Research & Financial Engineering | Director, Transportation Program, Faculty Chair, Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering

Bravo! This is a really excellent report. Probably best that I’ve seen. The Key Findings & Recommendations … Ch 5.1: Tension between the two streams of vehicle automation… and, of course Ch 10: Ownership (the business model) is more important than technology.

Robert W. Poole, Jr, Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy | Reason Foundation

Everyone involved with planning the transportation infrastructure for the next 40 years should download and read this very important study.

Michael Roschlau, Past President & Chief Executive Officer (1998-2015) | Canadian Urban Transit Association

This is an excellent report – one of the best I’ve seen on the topic. Bravo!!!

Media Appearances (3)

Driverless cars could make GTA congestion worse in the short term, report says

Metro Toronto  


Toronto-based transportation consultant and report author Bern Grush said he wants to “dispense with the mythology” around driverless cars. “We imagine step-by-step driverless cars will get better and better and then we will all have one in our garage,” he said. “That's inaccurate.”...

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Ontario deserves kudos for automated vehicles move but more needs to be done

Canada NewsWire  


"This pilot will be helpful for testing new technology embedded in vehicles. But Ontario needs to focus more on deployment," says transportation consultant Bern Grush, author of the RCCAO-commissioned report "Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation." "While Ontario looks to become a leading jurisdiction of innovation, the province needs to participate in projects that apply vehicle automation to first/last kilometre transportation solutions. The matter of testing fundamental or applied technology is an industry issue that requires standards and certification rather than intimate government involvement."...

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Insurance industry ‘has to be ready’ for automated vehicles: Insurance Institute speaker

Canadian Underwriter  


“The fully robotic household vehicle – one that you can put in a driveway at your home and one that requires no driver and wouldn’t have a steering wheel – is quite a bit further off than we might expect,” said Bern Grush, co-author of, at the CIP Society Automated Vehicles Research Forum...

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Sample Talks (5)

Keynote at Mississauga Moves

Here is a video of me speaking in 2015 at the “Mississauga Moves” transportation event. At the end, an audience vote was taken: “Who thinks a consideration of automated vehicles should be in Mississauga’s next transportation plan?” all in the audience (except 2 of about 300) voted “yes”.

What difference will automated vehicles really make to you?

This is a non-specialist talk for non-planners, non-car-geeks and generally the other 99% of us interested in when all this will happen and what it will mean to them personally. I review a couple of the fun technical elements before going into the issues of expected social changes for our urban and suburban lives. When will you likely to get one and exactly how “automatic” will it be? When can you send it off to pick up your daughter from hockey practice or take your grandmother to her bridge game? What is really meant by “ready in the market by 2021”? When will congestion and parking go away? Or will it? Will there really be separate lanes? Won’t this cause more sprawl? I already can’t afford my car, I’ll never afford this! What do mean this will affect house prices? When will they make us stop driving altogether? I keep hearing about hacking and safety and privacy - who is sorting all that out? Forget it — I will never give up the wheel! This talk separates hype from hope (and singles out some of the false news!) while injecting both a little excitement and a dose of sobriety into the anticipation about automated vehicles.

Two Markets for Automated Vehicles (and what to do about them)

This is talk for urban planners, regulators, urbanists, transportation planners, and change activists. Automated vehicles serve two distinct markets: the private household market and the shared taxi/transit market. The competition between the market for selling vehicles and the market for selling rides will continue from their current configurations which are biased toward selling vehicles and will be shaped by a number of forces that will dictate the future of congestion, parking, sharing, sprawl, and transit. This presentation looks at two future paths and proposes a way for regional government and its transportation planners to navigate toward a preferred path.

Curbside management tools for congested cities

Curbside in cities is high-demand asphalt. Delivery zones, turning lanes, bike lanes, parking, handicapped spaces, no parking, no stopping, snow removal and more. Every congested city struggles with this. It is not easy. In this talk, Bern Grush will review ways pricing has been used to address this in some cities and how wireless technology can help with short-stay delivery vehicles while providing big-data solutions to better curbside activity management. This for city planners and regulators looking to think outside the box.

Automated Vehicles - Virtue or Vice

Two distinct markets are developing for vehicle automation: semi-automated vehicles for personal/household ownership and fully automated vehicles for shared and public service use as robo-shuttles and robo-taxis. These two markets will compete for consumers (car-buyers vs. ride-buyers), as household vehicles and public transit do now. As these markets develop, the competition between them will complicate infrastructure, require complex regulations, delay our path to the promised 90% reduction in crashes and fatalities, and push out the time at which we can achieve a hoped-for new level of optimal land-use and optimal urban mobility given by lowered pressure from massive storage of parked vehicles and the flaws of human drivers. This paper outlines why this is competition unavoidable and will mean a significant period of difficulty on the way to a new era of mobility.



  • Keynote
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Author Appearance


3000 to 8000 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee

Research Focus (1)

Ontario Must Prepare for Vehicle Automation


Ontario has an opportunity to develop and test automated vehicle (AV) deployments that will shape the future of our road infrastructure, our commuting patterns and transit delivery. With the hype surrounding AVs, RCCAO commissioned Bern Grush, a leading systems thinker, to research the potential impacts. While there are many future scenarios, Mr. Grush recommended that the Ontario government facilitate pilot projects to test these new technologies to address our stubborn congestion problems. AVs touch almost every aspect of our lives: transportation of people and goods; change in the nature and management of transit; congestion; land use (both policies and pressures); safety; public health; labour ... but most importantly for Ontario manufacturing, trade and innovation.

Articles (3)

Transit privatization is unavoidable

End of Driving


Buried in this Route Fifty article about Uber’s data transparency (or lack of) are important warnings about the creeping privatization of transit...

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Road tolls need to address more than just funding

End of Driving


Toronto’s Mayor John Tory should be recognized as a very brave mayor when he called for road tolls, today. Unfortunately, this call will please few...

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Autonomous sprawl

End of Driving


This, in itself, makes semi-automated vehicles desirable. While the “order of magnitude” MAY be an exaggeration in 2016, it will be an understatement in 2020. And that is with driver-required! Tesla’s price will have moderated by then, and they will not be alone in the market...

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