In August, the City of Toronto opened its brand new Transportation Operations Centre to help improve safety and traffic flow on city roadways.
Upgraded technology permits the new centre to act as a state-of-the-art transportation hub monitoring and responding to issues on the city’s roadways in real time. This will be done by monitoring more locations on video cameras as more locations are added to the system. It will also allow operators to alter signal timings as needed and coordinate with emergency services more quickly to clear lane blockages.
In Willowdale, the City will be installing cameras along the Yonge and Sheppard corridors through the remainder of 2014 and through 2015.
This project is one part of the City’s overall congestion management plan. Other elements of the plan include:
- Retiming 650 traffic signals across 18 corridors over the next 2 years
- Procuring a new advanced traffic management system (ATMS) and implementing more adaptive traffic signal systems at key intersections
- Establishing official Traffic Incident Management Teams and procedures to more efficiently respond to blockages
- Improving traveller information strategies including use of traditional and social media
- Better coordinating construction projects and pilot “Smart Work Zones” with cameras, vehicle detectors and electronic message signs.
These changes, along with other initiatives, will allow the City to better respond to real-time changes in traffic conditions, provide motorists with updated information to allow them to change routes as necessary, and improve traffic efficiency along key corridors.
While I am pleased to see the City taking an active role in traffic reduction, it is important for local residents to understand that there are no “silver bullets.” Altering signal timing, for example, is helpful in maximizing efficiency, but when two intersecting roadways are both over capacity, there is no signal timing equation that will solve the problem.
I have been working on several other traffic reduction strategies locally, however, and together, they can make a difference.