City to study syncing signals

Could better control of traffic lights lead to less gridlock?

Two years ago, after logging many complaints from his midtown residents, Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow requested a staff report on synchronizing traffic signals as a way to help reduce gridlock on city streets.

“It’s tried and true,” he said. “You look at other cities around the world – Los Angeles, New York – they have it. It’s a way to increase the driver’s ability to get through the city quickly.

“The plan is to make most of the city, in certain gridlock hot spots operating under the same technology and synched to the city command centre.”

A city study into the feasibility and cost on traffic signal coordination won’t be made public until May 12, but the cost for the new technology is estimated to be in the millions, which Matlow called an necessary investment.

Most of Toronto’s traffic signals are already in sync, but according to director of transportation services Miles Currie, there are parts of the city that aren’t, and some of the technology is aging or regularly malfunctions.

Since September 2011, the city has conducted a series of congestion and traffic signal studies which took into account the traffic flow, lane closures and pedestrians. Based on those results syncing traffic lights may not have a major impact on traffic flow.

“Traffic signals account for a small percentage of reoccurring traffic,” Currie said. “But traffic signal coordination is just one of many aspects of road congestion we look at.”

Matlow agrees and said he would also like to see the city address curb hogs and on-road construction.

“We are targeting those issues,” he said. “We’ve had big debates on the future of gridlock and if we increase the synchronization of traffic lights we’ll see an improvement in congestion”.

About this article:

By: Justin Robertson
Posted: Apr 15 2013 2:15 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto