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Bluetooth travel time FAQ

  1. How does the Bluetooth technology work?
  2. Can The City identify individuals using the Bluetooth ID code?
  3. How accurate is the travel time information?
  4. How often are travel times updated?
  5. Why are the signs on Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail different from the signs installed on Deerfoot Trail?

1. How does the Bluetooth technology work?
All Bluetooth devices (GPS, cell phones, hands-free mobile devices, etc) have a unique ID code assigned to them.  The City’s Bluetooth detection system reads this code at various points along the route where Bluetooth sensors are installed. This data is collected at a central server at The City’s Traffic Management Centre. Our software then calculates the average travel time between specific points, and displays this information on the electronic signs.

2. Can The City identify individuals using the Bluetooth ID code?
Bluetooth ID codes are anonymous. They are not assigned to individuals, but rather in blocks to specific factories/manufacturers.  There is no central database of Bluetooth ID numbers, and The City does not have any way of matching a citizen’s name or personal information with their specific Bluetooth device.

Citizens concerned with privacy can set options in their device (referred to as ‘Discovery Mode’ or ‘Visibility’) so that the device will not be detected by the Bluetooth system.

3. How accurate is the travel time information?
The Bluetooth system was found to be consistently accurate during the pilot project on  Deerfoot trail in 2010, and was found to be consistently accurate when tested during construction on 16 Avenue North and Deerfoot Trail.  The system becomes increasingly accurate as more people use Bluetooth devices.

4. How often are travel times updated?
Travel times can be updated as often as once a minute, but are dependent on the number of Bluetooth-enabled devices present at any given time. Once the permanent Bluetooth detection system is in operation, The City will have a better estimate of how often the travel times are updated.

5. Why are the signs on Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail different from the signs installed on Deerfoot Trail?
The signs on Deerfoot Trail are permanent installations, while the signs on Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail are not. The City was able to repurpose some existing signs for this project. If funding becomes available in the future, there may be an opportunity to install permanent travel time signage on Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail.