New technology could be key to eliminating traffic tie-ups

CALGARY- No one likes a traffic jam, and now researchers from the University of Calgary are looking at ways to use new technology to reduce congestion.

The traffic lab is looking at the dynamics of road tie-ups, by installing sensors along an eight kilometre stretch of Deerfoot Trail, between McKnight Blvd. and Peigan Trail.

“They will be transmitting information about the traffic, the speeds, the density of traffic in real time,” explains Lina Kattan, professor of Transportation Systems Optimization. “We can see the benefits…what are going to be the reduction in travel times? What are going to be the improvements in speed, and so on.”

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The information is run through computer simulations to test different scenarios, and one solution researchers are looking at involves the use of ramp meters to control the flow of traffic. The meters activate traffic lights during peak hours, and have already proven effective in the U.S.

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“It will come gradually, in the next 10 years,” predicts Behrouz Far, from the University of Calgary’s electrical and civil engineering department. “I think the future of traffic is in using this technology. Because we have limited capacity of roads, limited capacity of infrastructure, better use of it is the target.”

The Alberta Motor Association contributed $750,000 towards the lab, which opened earlier this month.

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