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New smart traffic signal pilot projects kick off on Yonge and Sheppard

Last Updated Nov 24, 2017 at 10:41 am EST

Mayor John Tory looks on as the smart traffic signal project starts on Yonge Street, Nov. 24, 2017. CITYNEWS

Mayor John Tory has launched his latest attempt to tackle the city’s gridlock issue and get drivers moving – smart traffic signals.

The pilot project kicked off on Friday at the intersection of Yonge Street and Yonge Boulevard.

The new signals will be able to adjust traffic signals independently to respond to real-time traffic patterns.

“We all know the experience of sitting at a light that is red, noticing that the traffic across the other way is non existent and saying ‘why is this light red? Why can’t it be green?’ … well this technology is going to finally allow us to have an answer to that question.”

The pilot project will see smart lights at 10 locations on Yonge Street between Yonge Boulevard and Castlefield Avenue and use a technology called InSync – which is also used in the United States.

City councillor and chair of the public works and infrastructure committee, Jaye Robinson, said the signals will be good for your car and your wallet.

“Re-timing traffic signals improves traffic flow and reduces fuel consumption, stops and overall delays. Over the last 12 months we have updated 357 signals along 17 corridors,” she said.

According to Robinson, the current technology used to time the lights is 30 years old and “belongs in a traffic museum.”

As well, at 12 locations on Sheppard Avenue East between Neilson Road and Meadowvale Road, the City will pilot a technology called SCATS — which is used in Australia, Asia and the United States. This technology makes decisions using radar detection to measure traffic flow up and downstream of the intersection.

At the end of the pilot project, both technologies will be compared and evaluated to decide which one will be adopted city wide.


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