Leveraging the Internet of Things to optimize traffic flow and enhance sustainability.

As cities and their populations continue to grow and evolve, traditional traffic management strategies have become increasingly outdated and ineffective. Fixed timing plans, which rely on car counts to set the timings of traffic lights, are still in use at the vast majority of signalized intersections. In the post-pandemic era of hybrid work, traffic patterns have become much more dynamic and difficult to predict. As a result, timings at traffic signals are often inaccurate, leading to delays, frustration, and decreased efficiency.

The need for a more advanced and dynamic traffic management system has never been greater. The Rogers Smart Traffic solution is designed to meet this need.

Smart Traffic optimizes traffic flow in near real time

Smart Traffic is an AI-powered traffic signal solution that connects road users to the city grid, digitizing urban intersections to help municipal agencies improve the safety of road users while increasing the efficient flow of traffic. The solution’s cameras and radar, coupled with AI-based detection and analytics, can identify all types of road users – pedestrians, cyclists, e-scooters, public transport, even people with wheelchairs – which empowers communities to improve traffic equity and safety. The platform eliminates the need to re-time signals to manage traffic variability, while future-proofing cities for the connected and autonomous era. We have teamed up with NoTraffic, a global leader whose digitized traffic management service is already in use in several large US cities, to bring this solution to Canadians.

Smart Traffic proof of concept at UBC

Rogers created a research partnership with the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2018 to create North America’s first 5G campus network, establishing UBC as a living lab for innovations in next-generation wireless networks and technologies. Starting in 2022, Rogers and UBC integrated the Smart Traffic sensors and traffic management system into UBC’s AURORA connected vehicle testbed at five signalized intersections on the UBC Vancouver campus. In many ways, this campus operates as a small municipality in control of its own utilities and encompassing more than 400 hectares, with a daily population of approximately 80,000 people. The resulting Detection & Traffic Management pilot program was designed to generate traffic information and share it between these intersections in order to coordinate the signals and enhance the experience for all modes along and across the Wesbrook Mall corridor.

The advanced sensors captured real-time data about traffic volumes, pedestrians, cyclists, speeds, and congestion levels, which was analyzed by the traffic management system to adjust signal timings based on the traffic conditions and the optimization objectives.

Positive results from the initial trial1

The following table shows the results of the two-week trial at five intersections on the UBC campus:

Pilot Program Number of Intersections Total Economic Value2 CO2 Reduced (Tons) Pedestrian Delay Reduction Vehicle Delay Reduction
2-week results on UBC Campus 5 $6,371 2.8 93.42
181.67 (hours)

As the table shows, by optimizing traffic flow the Smart Traffic system was able to significantly reduce delays for both vehicles and pedestrians, improving the overall safety and efficiency of the intersections. The reduction in delays for both pedestrians and vehicles translates to a significant improvement in the quality of life for residents and commuters.  The economic value reflects the improvement in traffic flow and reduction in delays. The solution has also contributed to a substantial reduction of 2.8 tons of COemissions – even when implemented at just five intersections – demonstrating its contribution towards sustainable urban mobility.

The successful implementation of smart traffic management solutions at these intersections is a testament to the power of technology in enhancing urban transportation systems.

What would happen if the program were in place for a year?

Based on the results from the initial project, if we were to keep it in place for an entire year at the five intersections on campus, the results are impressive:

Annualized Number of Intersections Total Economic Value CO2 Reduced (Tons) Pedestrian Delay Reduction Vehicle Delay Reduction
Scaled Annualized UBC Campus 5 $165,654 74 2,429

As you would expect, the benefits only grow over time. But what would happen if we were to expand the program across the entire city of Vancouver?

Considerable savings in time, money and emissions

Once again taking the results of the initial project as a basis, you can see below what happens if we scale the project up to cover all of the city of Vancouver’s 727 intersections.

Expanded Number of Intersections Total Economic Value CO2 Reduced (Tons) Pedestrian Delay Reduction Vehicle Delay Reduction
If scaled across the city of Vancouver for a year 727 $84,108,701 52,726 55,164
139,921 (days)

As you can see, the implementation of smart traffic management solutions across the entire city would provide significant economic value thanks to the anticipated improvement in traffic flow and reduction in delays. This would be expected to positively impact the city’s economy. The reduction in CO2 emissions is also substantial, demonstrating the significant potential contribution of smart traffic management solutions towards sustainable urban mobility.  Significant improvement in the quality of life for residents and commuters would arise from the reduction in pedestrian and vehicle delays, which would not only provide substantial time savings for individuals but also reduce the stress associated with traffic delays.

Overall, the successful implementation of smart traffic management solutions across the city is expected to demonstrate the power of technology in enhancing urban transportation systems. The anticipated results suggest that such solutions will have a significant positive impact on various metrics, including economic value, COemissions reduction, and quality of life for residents and commuters. It is important to continue investing in innovative solutions to improve urban mobility and create sustainable transportation systems that benefit both people and the environment in the future.

Making our communities safer and more sustainable

As the tables above show, the Smart Traffic system can make intersections much more efficient. At a standard traffic light, pedestrians must either wait to cross despite no vehicles passing by or run the risk of jay walking. The Smart Traffic system represents a significant step forward in urban transportation technology. With its advanced sensors, traffic management algorithms, and pedestrian detection sensors, it offers a more efficient, safe, and sustainable approach to managing traffic at intersections. As the successful pilot project at UBC has demonstrated, the Smart Traffic system has the potential to revolutionize the way we think about transportation in our cities, making them safer, greener, and more efficient for everyone, not just cars.

By improving traffic flow and reducing carbon emissions, the Smart Traffic system can make a significant contribution to building more livable and sustainable cities.

Learn more about Smart Traffic and our suite of solutions designed to enhance sustainability and efficiency in spacesvehicle fleets and cities.