City Hall’s smart traffic system to prioritize buses and emergency crews

New equipment worth $1.8 million could make it easier for London Transit emergency vehicles and buses to navigate busy intersections.

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New equipment worth $1.8 million could make it easier for London Transit emergency vehicles and buses to navigate busy intersections.

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A smart traffic system with synchronized traffic lights is already in the works, but the next phase, a Transport Mobility Intelligent Management System (TIMMS), is being debated at city council this week.

The City Council’s Civic Works Committee will consider a $1.8million contract on Tuesday for equipment that recognizes emergency vehicles and London Transit buses as they approach traffic lights.

“It is the hardware component that transmits and receives this information. This award recognizes the installation of equipment in all of our traffic signals and on all buses,” said Shane Maguire, director of the city’s traffic engineering division.

As part of the intelligent traffic system, signals will turn green as quickly as possible for emergency vehicles and it can also help LTC buses stay on track.

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“As a general rule, a bus must be behind schedule before it is given this priority. This may depend on the number of people on the bus. It’s not going to end up prioritizing every bus,” Maguire said.

“The big goal of mass transit is keeping to schedules, so it’s more reliable for the customer.”

Everything is automatic, so bus drivers or passengers won’t notice. The same system has been installed in Quebec and Regina, the staff report says.

Other elements of London’s intelligent transport network are already in motion, such as closed-circuit cameras that are installed at 80 of London’s 413 traffic lights. These will be streamed live to a transport management center to help adjust the system in the event of an accident or other disruption on the roads.

Another program the city is testing will adjust traffic lights based on congestion.

“The adaptive system takes real-time information on how many vehicles are actually on the road and then makes adjustments based on that,” Maguire said.

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