Toronto City Council has approved a comprehensive congestion management plan that will see the implementation of numerous initiatives over the next five years aimed at improving traffic movement on Toronto streets including the downtown area.
Many of these initiatives will help to reduce vehicle delays, fuel consumption for drivers as well as reduce the impact on our environment. And it's not just about moving cars. About 60 per cent of TTC users travel on our road network. Getting our road system performing more efficiently will improve the quality of life for all residents.
Congestion has a significant impact on residents, businesses and visitors. Recent studies have indicated that congestion costs Toronto commuters several billions of dollars annually in travel delays, vehicle operating costs and accidents.
Among the key elements of the congestion management plan are:
- upgrading the City's traffic signal management software to a new system by the end of 2014
- the re-evaluation and co-ordination of approximately 1,000 traffic signals
- the installation of 100 traffic cameras on arterial roads to better detect problems on these key transportation routes
- the addition of 13 variable message signs along the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway
- better management and use of curb lanes.
These changes, along with other initiatives, will allow the City to better respond to changes in traffic conditions, provide motorists with updated information to allow them to change routes as necessary, and improve traffic efficiency along key corridors.
By the end of this year, the City will have re-timed 245 traffic signals along parts of Kingston Road, Weston Road, Keele Street, Parkside Drive and both Lawrence Avenue East and Lawrence Avenue West, which will result in improved traffic flow.
One of the reports concerning congestion, The Downtown Traffic Operations Study, specifically deals with the challenges of congestion in the downtown core and some potential strategies that might positively impact the flow of traffic and improve safety in the downtown core.
Potential initiatives in this report that could be implemented in the next few years include dedicated curbside locations for couriers to load and unload their items during non-rush hour periods, traffic assistance personnel who would go to key intersections to discourage blockages, and the extension of peak-period parking regulations and turn prohibitions on selected roads such as Queen Street and King Street to keep traffic moving on those streets.