To understand how smart signals can help mitigate traffic congestion, one must first understand how conventional signals work. Most signals today operate on a fixed length, time of day system. The signals change at a static rate that varies in the morning, afternoon or evening when traffic volumes increase or decrease, otherwise known as TOD (Time of Day plans) This system is effective at reducing the number of incidents at intersections but does not consider dynamic traffic volumes. This same system became utilized on traffic corridors and main arterials. The signals, when in succession, were timed so that they changed relative to the vehicles speed and distance between lights to allow for a smoother flow. Many new technology devices have since been added to the typical intersection to help resolve recurrent issues. Devices like Emergency Pre-emption, Detectors, Countdown Timers and so on. Smart Signals however are fully dynamic. They consider traffic flows in each direction, and learn the typical patterns. Smart signals can collect traffic data, relay important information to drivers, divert traffic where congestion is anticipated, and give priorities to various emergency vehicles. Smart signals take advantage of the network infrastructures now in place and monitor volumes across many intersections simultaneously creating efficient and dynamic traffic flow algorithms. One example of this technology used in the City of Edmonton is the Active Aurora Project. Can-Traffic Services, the City of Edmonton, University of Alberta and a few other industry partners co-operatively installed Canadas first connected vehicle smart network. Smart technology can relay information directly to the driver about time delays, speed limit changes, traffic accidents, pedestrians crossing, following too close, unsafe speed, traffic slowing and even information about road conditions. Keeping our family’s and the families of others safe while driving should be a priority for everyone. The Active Aurora Project and projects like it help make this initiative easier for everyone. The City of Edmonton is currently looking to upgrade 1100 intersections at an estimated value of $150 million. These new intersections would utilize adaptive signal technology.

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