Toronto gives green light to transport management plan

  • December 7, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

The city of Toronto plans next year to roll out a smart transportation system to help manage congestion.

Toronto City Council unanimously approved the MoveTo action plan. This plan should help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern and safe transportation system.

The plan proposes five measures that will help make the city’s transportation system more resilient in response to the effects of Covid-19 on Toronto’s overall transportation network.

The five proposed actions that will launch starting next year are:

  • Smart traffic signals – automatically adjusted signal timing based on actual traffic demand. Staff are proposing 500 locations over the next five years.
  • Intelligent intersections – helps to improve safety at intersections for pedestrians and cyclists. Staff are proposing 100 locations over the next two years.
  • Advanced transit signal priority (ATSP) – detects buses running behind schedule and extends green times when necessary. There are 400 locations with transit signal priority in the city and staff are proposing to accelerate the implementation of ATSP on 100 more priority locations over the next two years with a focus on key corridors across the city.
  • Construction hub pilot programme expansion – this programme helps manage traffic and reduce congestion caused by construction around work zones, improves communication with the local community, and keeps people safe. An expansion of the pilot is proposed and will include three new locations: Lakeshore Hub, Downtown Hub and East Harbour. The next step is a focus on working with developers to do more to reduce the amount of time the right-of-way is closed due to construction.
  • Transportation demand management strategy –measures to help avoid congestion at specific times, locations and on certain modes of transportation. Staff propose building on the existing smart commute programme with local employers to provide additional supports for commuters, while developing strategies to address more localised instances of congestion.

These five strategies aim to reduce travel times and improve travel reliability for vehicles, improve safety and optimise movement for pedestrians and people on bikes at intersections, improve transit operations, coordinate construction activities to reduce impacts to the transportation network and improve safety, and help employers reduce travel demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

The MoveTo plan builds on the work the city has done to impact congestion positively, while also considering safer streets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and taking further steps towards a more equitable transportation network in Toronto. Some of these strategies include the recently approved freight and goods movement strategy, the traffic agents programme and the vision zero road safety plan.

“MoveTo will help keep people moving safely throughout Toronto,” said Toronto major John Tory. “This plan delivers smart, common-sense approaches that will help pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and drivers get around our city. I have urged city staff to have the technology in place as quickly as possible to make sure we have a more modern and safer transportation system as soon as possible that responds and adapts to traffic in real time.”

Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people and is the fourth largest city in North America.

“This plan is a commitment to improve not only congestion but also road safety,” said councillor James Pasternak, chair of the infrastructure and environment committee. “The technology and strategies contained in the MoveTo plan will help keep pedestrians and people on bikes safer, prevent collisions and will keep goods moving. And they will complement strategies such as the new traffic agents programme that is now in place. Growing cities must continue to invest in these plans to make transportation systems more adaptable while also making roads in Toronto safer for people.”