Manitoba

Winnipeg traffic lights will finally be synchronized

Two-thirds of Winnipeg's traffic signals are now connected to a central command system which allows synchronization to improve traffic flow and quick changes for emergency responders. Winnipeg is the last city in Canada to implement central traffic control. Some cities have used similar systems for decades.

New system expected to ease congestion and speed repairs

All Winnipeg traffic signals will soon be synchronized. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Two-thirds of Winnipeg's traffic signals are now connected to a central command system which allows synchronization to improve traffic flow and quick changes for emergency responders. 

Winnipeg is the last city in Canada to implement central traffic control. Some cities have used similar systems for decades. 

"We are actually implementing things that other cities we visited were wanting to do, but they can't. So we are; we will be, a lot more nimble and we will be able to share a lot more information with, for example, emergency services," said traffic manager Luis Escobar during the city's infrastructure and public works committee this morning.

So far the city has connected 437 of its 650 traffic signals using mobile phone networks and satellite. This "real-time" information is anticipated to minimize the need for repairs.

"We have pretty much a computer in every traffic signal now so it can run on its own in case there is some problems," Escobar said adding every traffic light can send an email informing managers a sensor is malfunctioning,  

City gets new "eyes"

Video cameras are being installed at some intersections.

"We are going to be monitoring all traffic. We will have video cameras on a number of intersections; that will be our eyes in the field," Escobar told the public works committee.

When the entire system is operational in December, the city should be able to monitor traffic flows and inform the public of congestion problems through an app.

Escobar says the app will also allow the city to "crowd-source" reports of traffic problems.

Rain will no longer shut off the lights

The city has also solved a problem with humidity that caused many lights to shut off. Staff changed connections in the signals and Escobar is confident that will end rain-related outages.

The new Traffic Management Centre is budgeted to cost $ 6.5 million.