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Traffic innovations at Roads

Whether it’s through real-time traffic updates or solar-powered pedestrian crosswalks, the Roads business unit is constantly looking at better and more efficient ways of operating.

Traffic operations | Parking | Streetlighting

Traffic operations

Advanced Traveller Information System (ATIS)

The ATIS site includes a number of exciting features such as an interactive map with real-time information on road closures, traffic incidents, Snow Routes, traffic cameras, transit routes and parking. It also allows users to look up their address and find transportation services in their area, as well as a trip planner that can help navigate around detours and traffic incidents.

The next three phases of the project will include added features such as:

  • Enabling GPS data to showing snow plow and sander locations in real time on the map.
  • Providing real-time traffic congestion information via Bluetooth.
  • Email/SMS subscriptions.

Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons

Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) are solar powered pedestrian crossings. The beacons have LED lights and display intermittent rapid flashes when activated by a pedestrian. These devices are significantly less costly to install and operate compared to the other overhead flashing beacons currently in use at pedestrian crossings.

For more information, visit the Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons webpage.

Roving Tow Truck Program

In February of 2010, the City of Calgary launched a roving tow truck program on several major roadways in Calgary.  These roadways include:

  • Crowchild Trail between 33 Avenue S.W. and 24 Avenue N.W.
  • Memorial Drive between Deerfoot Trail and Edmonton Trail.
  • Glenmore Trail between Crowchild Trail and 14 St S.W.
  • Deerfoot Trail.

The roving tow trucks remove stalled vehicles on key Calgary roads, reducing congestion and delays and improving safety for all motorists. Visit the Roving Tow Truck project webpage for more information.

Real-Time Travel Congestion and Travel Time Information System

The City of Calgary has activated a Bluetooth detection technology along Deerfoot Trail to give Calgarians real-time information about the travel time along Deerfoot Trail during their commute.

This innovative technology collects publicly available information from Bluetooth devices and estimates travel times and congestion. These times are then displayed on electronic signs at key locations along the freeway.

The benefits of this technology to Calgarians are:

  • Improved ability for drivers to make informed route planning choices.
  • Decreased driver frustration.
  • Collection of transportation data for planning purposes.
  • Reduction of drivers using handheld devices to predict traffic during their commute.

Traffic Responsive Signal Control Systems

Signal timings are determined and adjusted based on real-time traffic data that is collected through wireless devices that analyze the data and provide the best signal timing plan to fit the conditions. Properly timed signals can make a significant difference to traffic flow by reducing congestions and queuing.

The wireless traffic responsive systems are currently being installed on McKnight Boulevard from 4 Street N.W. to 4 Street N.E. and on Country Hills Boulevard at Royal Birch Boulevard N.W., and are expected to be operational by the end of 2011.  Traffic cameras have been installed on these corridors to monitor traffic conditions and adjust signal timings as needed.

Roads online permits

Roads is currently working towards improving one of our key service offerings by making it possible to apply for roads permits online. Phase one of the program is complete and it is now possible to apply for Street Use permits and Temporary No Parking permits through an online form. This allows contractors and members of the public to submit applications at their convenience, through a simple online form.

The next phase of this program will include making the rest of the roads permits available online.

Visit the Roads permit page for more information.

Food Trucks

The Roads Traffic division supported the implementation of the Food Truck Pilot Project by issuing street-use permits to all the participants to allow for food vending on city streets.

Stampede Parade event bleachers

Roads works closely with the Calgary Stampede to support many popular events throughout the city. One of our key duties is the permitting and placement of bleachers for the annual Stampede Parade. Roads is in the process of reviewing the existing bleacher locations to ensure these areas are easily accessible to pedestrians. Roads will also be looking for alternate locations for bleachers that may be removed from the route, and will be creating dedicated accessible zone sites throughout the route to better accommodate people with disabilities during the parade.

Painted utility box program

The Painted Utility Box program is a pilot project aimed at discouraging graffiti vandalism and providing local artists with public space to showcase original artwork.

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Hydrant Taxi Zones

This pilot project began in late summer 2011 and will be ongoing for one year. There are currently 135 taxi zones in the downtown core. Taxis using fire hydrant space to wait or stand for fares, optimizes the use of street space. The fire hydrant space is rarely used and taxis require drivers to remain at the vehicle. There are a number of benefits to the Hydrant Taxi Zones:

  • Improved emergency access to fire hydrants due to better protected from illegal parking
  • Greater access to taxis for the public throughout the downtown
  • Improved dispatch capability for taxi companies
  • Efficient use of street space as fire hydrant space is infrequently used
  • Increased public parking space
  • Reduced driving for taxi drivers to seek customers

General Avenue parking

The Calgary Parking Authority and Roads implemented a progressive rate parking trial in late September 2011. The intent of the trial is to promote short-term parking in this area, while encouraging longer-staying vehicles to use the other available parking locations on 1 Avenue N.E., 8A Street N.E. and 9 Street N.E.

General Avenue previously had a 30 minute limit with paid parking. The parking rates were adjusted to have 30 minutes of free parking, followed by a .75 cent charge for every half hour following.  Customers must activate a ParkPlus session to take advantage of the free 30-minute parking. Studies will be conducted in spring 2012 to evaluate the effectiveness of the trail. If it is successful in this location, similar parking arrangements may be implemented in other locations throughout the city.

Chinatown angle parking

With parking at a premium in downtown, it’s important to ensure parking lots and spaces are being used to its full potential. Roads re-vamped a parking area in Chinatown to include angled parking, creating 10 additional parking spaces on the east side of 1 Street S.E. between Riverfront Avenue and 4 Avenue S.E. The new angled parking was a simple, yet effective way of optimizing available space, and has been well-received by Calgarians.

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There are approximately 86,000 light fixtures in Calgary. The electrical operating costs totalled $9.4M in 2010. As a result, The City of Calgary has been investigating various street lighting technologies that may offer a solution to escalating electrical costs.

Energy Efficient LED Lighting Pilot Project

The objective of the Energy Efficient LED Lighting pilot project is to evaluate electricity savings associated with various LED lighting fixtures and to determine whether the technology aligns with The City’s long term street light upgrade strategy.

For more information, visit the LED Lighting Project webpage.

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