Intelligent Traffic Management
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: EMPOWERING A CITY
A smart mobility project that connects more than 2,700 intersections and 1,900 vehicles to provide centralized priority and vehicle movement control to the city in Montreal has won a 2019 innovation award. Anthony Hildebrand and John Waite are on hand to provide some technological background
In April one of the largest smart mobility projects in the history of St Paul, Minnesota-based Global Traffic Technologies’ (GTT) was named the winner of the 2019 Innovation award by the Quebec Transportation Association (AQTr).
As part of the City of Montreal’s mobility strategy the project provides a centralized intelligent traffic management platform, enabling officials to oversee and control the movement of vehicles that operate on its streets. The solution includes Transit Signal Priority and Emergency Vehicle Preemption, and leverages existing infrastructure and hardware in combination with innovative software to enable smart city initiatives such as improved mobility, decreased congestion, greenhouse gas reductions, increased safety and adaptive mobility management.
GTT’s Victor Darias, vice president of strategic sales for the region that includes Montreal, paid credit to the strong partnership between the firm, Montreal’s transit agency Société de transport de Montréal (STM), and City of Montreal officials.
"This award would not have been possible without the trusted relationship among all the stakeholders,” Darias said. “We worked hard and took some risks together. The result is smarter and safer mobility in the Montreal area, thanks to one of the most advanced priority management platforms in the world.”
“The work we’ve done in Montreal is just the beginning of what the company is capable of doing in cities around the world,” added Mike Haldane, GTT’s vice president of global marketing. “Opticom has been a leader in the connected vehicle market for over five decades, and this Montreal project is a major stepping stone in providing more holistic smart mobility solutions.”
For this project, STM and the City of Montreal partnered with GTT to develop a centralized intelligent traffic system that leverages existing infrastructure to connect more than 2,700 intersections and nearly 1,900 vehicles. The result is a flexible, software-based traffic signal priority system that can manage priority levels for public transit and emergency vehicles. In the future, the system empowers Montreal to manage long-haul trucks, delivery vehicles, public works vehicles and even ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft without any major infrastructure investments.
This latest innovation in smart city mobility merges features from industry-leading priority control systems deployed in Laval, Quebec and New York City, both built by GTT. The Montreal solution combines the conditional and relative Transit Signal Priority (TSP) features found in Laval with the centralized, software-based deployment used in New York. It gives the city the ability to reduce traffic congestion by giving priority to different users based on time-of-day, vehicle type, specific routes and direction of travel.
Darias said this system gives the City of Montreal the power to manage and optimize mobility on its streets by moving calculations that are typically made onboard the vehicles into a central location.
“In the case of transit priority, the Central Management Software considers lateness, passenger load and schedules when it allocates priority at an intersection,” Darias explained. “Once this is calculated, the system leverages existing infrastructure – including cellular and fiber networks – to send the priority decision to the intersections. Transit vehicles receive a green light only when they need it most.”
The system helps to reduce traffic congestion by making public transportation a more viable option. More controlled vehicle movements and less traffic also make the city safer for pedestrians, Darias added.
The emergency vehicle preemption component also helps to get first responders to emergencies more quickly and safely. But the most innovative piece of the project is the fact that it’s easy to adapt and expand as the city’s needs change.
“The nature of this centralized priority control system means that it will be able to expand and adapt to future requirements, enabling Smart City vehicle management today and in the future,” Darias said.
Outside the city’s central core, both public safety and public transit vehicles will be able to leverage existing point-to-point communications for priority control. Even vehicles from surrounding municipalities will be able to use the system, provided they have the necessary vehicle communications and if the City of Montreal has granted them access. Throughout the entire system Montreal officials will be able to manage who gets different levels of priority, no matter the type of vehicle or where it came from. And the system is secure – Montreal has the ability to approve access to users, but encryption ensures that unauthorized attempts at signal preemption are not allowed.
“What makes this solution so appealing is that Montreal has the ability to manage multiple agencies at the same time, and they didn’t have to rip out and replace existing infrastructure to do so,” Darias said. “The solution empowers Montreal to get from where they are to where they want to be, in terms of smarter and safer mobility.”
Anthony Hildebrand and John Waite