August 4, 2015 3:52 pm
Updated: August 11, 2015 9:19 am

Whitemud Drive speed suggestion project aims to improve traffic flow

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WATCH ABOVE: Michel Boyer reports live during the Morning News from the affected stretch of the busy road. 

EDMONTON — The city has implemented a pilot project on part of Whitemud Drive to see if slowing down at certain points will ultimately improve travel time and reduce congestion.

For four weeks starting on Tuesday, August 11, digital signs will advise drivers of the recommended speed between 111 and 159 Streets. Digital signs will display the recommended speed to optimize travel time by avoiding traffic jams and sudden stops.

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“The recommended speed will change according to issues such as heavy volume, construction, collisions and weather conditions,” explained Wai Cheung, a technical specialist with the city’s transportation operations.

“If drivers match the recommended speed, even if it’s only 10 km/h slower, they will help reduce congestion and possibly collisions.”

READ MORE: Speed limit to remain 80 km/h on Whitemud Drive 

The legal speed limit is 80 km/h. The city says no one would be ticketed for driving above the recommended speed as long as they are obeying the 80 km/h official speed limit.

The recommended driving speed is calculated using volume and speed data, which is gathered by sensors under the roadway and ramps. The data is processed through a complex algorithm developed by the University of Alberta’s Centre for Smart Transportation, which is partnering with the city.

The city says the Whitemud was chosen because of the congestion it sees during peak times.

Between 2010 and 2014, it says there were 334 collisions on this part of Whitemud Drive involving 677 vehicles and 44 injuries.

“Other cities have successfully installed advisory speed signs to manage congestion and reduce stop-and-go traffic, and we hope to achieve these benefits in Edmonton as well,” said Dr. Tony Qiu, director of the Centre for Smart Transportation at the U of A.

Similar technology has been implemented in France, Sweden and the United States.

Once the pilot is over, the city will review the results and determine if the technology should be used permanently.

Editor’s Note: This story was published when the pilot project was announced, and updated on the day it went into effect. 

© 2015 Shaw Media

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