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Traffic lights getting resynched across the city

You may not have noticed, but traffic in the downtown core is getting more efficient.

That's a result of the wholesale re-synching of traffic signals on major arteries, including Bloor.

Though it may seem a minor thing, timing traffic signals correctly, taking into account changing populaiton density and whether big new stores have opened, can have a huge effect on how long it takes you to get somewhere, and how much gas you use to get there.

Acording to a recent study from the city's Traffic Management Centre, the recent realignment along Bloor resulted in a 24 per cent reduction in the number of stops an average car makes, a 16 per cent increase in average speed, and a 13 per cent reduction in the amount of gas used and greenhouse gases emitted.

Though international studies have determined re-timing should be done every three to five years, Toronto got a little behind, according to Rajnath Bissessar, the city's Manager of Urban Traffic Control Systems, "due to the lack of staff resources."

One of the adjustments that has been made along Bloor, Adelaide, Richmond and Kennedy, and that will be made in the coming months along Victoria Park, Kingston, Weston, Keele, Parkside and Lawrence is the creation of what Bissessar calls "green-bands"--those long stretches of road where you seem to hit every green light, co-ordinated not only to make you feel like things are finally going your way, but to reduce stop-and-go traffic, which is bad for fuel consumption.

The city has plans to re-time 270 signals by the end of the year, after adjusting 110 of them in 2012. The plan as a whole was adopted by council on June 11.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Rajnath Bissessar
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