Smart traffic signals, clearing accidents quickly and opening up
paved shoulders to vehicles during rush hour would improve congestion on
highways in the Toronto-Waterloo Region corridor — a problem that is
costing the average household $125 a year, according to a report from
the Toronto Region Board of Trade to be released Wednesday.
The report is the fourth in a series from the board that
looked at the movement of commercial goods through the Toronto-Waterloo
Region corridor, Canada's largest manufacturing and transportation hub.
One million tonnes — $3 billion worth of goods — are trucked
through the region every day, according to the board. But congestion on
the highways connecting the cities is creating delays that cost $500
million to $650 million per year in higher prices.
"What surprised me the most I guess was that for a region of
this size — Greater Toronto, Hamilton, Barrie, Kitchener-Waterloo —
which we are calling the corridor — we currently don't have a regional
strategy," said the author of the report, Natasha Apollonova, assistant
vice-president, policy, Toronto Region Board of Trade.
"I think there needs to be someone who is co-ordinating all
of this and who has the responsibility for really driving the regional
The report points out that much of the road network in the
corridor doesn't take full advantage of even existing technologies and
could benefit from emerging technologies like smart signals.
Smart signals use cameras and sensors embedded in the
pavement to respond to traffic patterns in real time, according to the
report, for example, eliminating an advance left turn signal if no cars
are waiting in line to turn left. Smart signals can allow extended green
signals for turning trucks trying to clear an intersection.
Efforts should be made to maximize the existing
infrastructure, including permitting vehicles to use paved shoulders on
the Don Valley Parkway in peak traffic; variable speed limits and rapid
accident clearance, which would help avoid long unexpected delays,
according to the report.
The report cites as an example the Ontario Provincial Police
and Halton region, which are using drones to quickly record accident
scenes, reducing the clearance process to 15 minutes from between one
and two hours.
The report also calls for smarter enforcement, including cracking down on vehicles that block traffic by making illegal turns.
It suggests moving truck traffic to Highway 407 by providing financial incentives to trucking companies.
The solution would also include improving public transit in the region, to get more passenger cars off the roads.
Source of article click here : The Record