Toronto looking to install 500 ‘Smart’ traffic signals to manage congestion

Oct 29 2020, 5:03 pm

Toronto Mayor John Tory has launched MoveTO, a new action plan to help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern, and safe transportation system.

According to a release, the the plan proposes five key measures that will help make the city’s transportation system more resilient, in response to the effects of COVID-19 on Toronto’s overall transportation network.

“The total cost to implement MoveTO is estimated at approximately $111.2 million and will span five years from 2021 to 2025,” states a city report.

The new measures would include ‘smart’ traffic signals which will automatically adjust signal timing based on actual traffic demand. The city is proposing 500 locations for the signals over the next five years.

‘Intelligent’ intersections will help to improve safety at intersections for pedestrians and cyclists, says the release. One hundred locations have been proposed over the next two years.

Advanced Transit Signal Priority (ATSP) will detect buses running behind schedule and extend green times when necessary. City staff are proposing the first 100 priority locations be installed over the next two years, with a focus on key TTC corridors across the city. They also plan to develop a strategy to enable transit signal priority at all 2,400 signals within the city.

The plan also proposes continuing and growing the Construction Hub Pilot Program, which helps manage traffic and reduce congestion caused by construction around work zones, improves communication with the local community, and keeps people safe. The next step is a focus on working with developers to do more to reduce the amount of time the right-of-way is closed to construction.

The final measure is the Transportation Demand Management Strategy, says the release.

The strategy is a set of measures to help avoid congestion at specific times, locations, and on certain modes of transportation. City staff propose building on the existing Smart Commute program with local employers to provide additional supports for commuters, while developing strategies to address more localized instances of congestion.

“MoveTO will keep Toronto moving now and into the future. This plan will help the city better manage traffic congestion in Toronto and deploy smart, common sense approaches that will help pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and drivers,” said Tory.

“We are implementing this plan as fast as possible to make sure we have a modern and safe transportation system that responds and adapts to traffic in real time. These are realistic solutions that I know will make life better for everyone as they move around our city whether they are walking, cycling, riding transit, or driving.”

The plan will be considered at the Infrastructure and Environment Committee meeting on Thursday, November 5. If approved, the measures can launch as early as next year.

According to the release, the five recommended strategies aim to reduce travel times and improve travel reliability for vehicles, improve safety and optimize movement for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, improve transit operations, coordinate construction activities to minimize impacts to the transportation network and improve safety, and help employers to reduce travel demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

The MoveTO plan builds on the work the City of Toronto has done to positively impact congestion, while also considering safer streets, improved equity, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions as they relate to Toronto’s larger transportation network.


Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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