How a new smart traffic light is slowing down drivers on Montreal’s south shore

Click to play video: 'New traffic light system putting safety first in Brossard'
New traffic light system putting safety first in Brossard
WATCH: The City of Brossard is looking to reduce speeding in school zones with a new advanced traffic light system already popular in Europe. A three-month pilot project will determine if more cities in Quebec get the OK to jump on board. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – May 2, 2023

The City of Brossard is looking to reduce speeding on its territory with a new advanced traffic light system popular in Europe.

Said to be the first of its kind in the country, the Educational Awareness Reward Light, better known as EARL, has been stationed outside Académie Marie-Laurier school along Stranvinski Avenue.

The smart traffic light is red by default but turns green when drivers proceed at the permitted speed limit.

Legally drivers do not have to stop at the red light. No penalties will be given out for not doing so.

Kalitech, the Quebec company behind the project, says the goal is to get drivers to instinctively slow down by reaching for the brake.

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“We are using the signal that drivers already know to stop and to make them slow down. As soon as you have the right speed, the light will turn green,”  Kalitech CEO Charles-Emeric Lapointe said.

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Brossard Mayor Doreen Assaad said her administration is looking to implement a multipronged approach when it comes to traffic safety in the city on Montreal’s south shore.

EARL is an innovative new tool added to the list of measures that the city can use as a traffic calming measure, Assaad said.

“There is a very limited scope that we can look at in terms of bollards, speed bumps, police activity. You can’t have that at every school zone. You can’t have that in every area; there are consequences to every action,” Assaad said.

Assaad said the project and how drivers react is being carefully studied but so far she has noticed the system is working.

The city admits that drivers are new to the concept. Adjustments to the programming are something that will be considered if necessary, Assaad said

“If the car behind is not expecting the car to stop at the light — these are things that we need to take into consideration,” Assaad said.

“It doesn’t have to be a red light. It can be a yellow light or a flashing yellow light.”

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The pilot project will be in place for 90 days.

The data collected will be sent to be reviewed by the Quebec Transport Ministry and will be studied for approval.

“We’re looking forward for it to be regulated and it can be used everywhere because we are optimistic that it will be effective in getting drivers to slow down,” Lapointe said.

Kalitech says they have fielded multiple offers from cities interested in the system.  Once approved they plan to have up to 50 projects scanning streets across Canada.

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