Solving T.O.'s traffic woes ongoing for decades

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First posted: Saturday, September 30, 2017 06:47 PM EDT | Updated: Saturday, September 30, 2017 06:58 PM EDT

traffic1 Before electrically operated traffic signals were introduced in Toronto police used manually operated traffic semaphores. The model seen here featured, in addition to the STOP and GO signs, a loud gong the officer would sound thus giving an audible signal that he was about to change commands. Article

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Something that’s high on Mayor John Tory’s list of things to do is the implementation of measures that will improve the city’s deteriorating traffic conditions.

One such measure has to result in improved timing of the traffic lights on the city’s main thoroughfares.

This will not be a new endeavour. In fact, back in 1959 City Council approved a $3.2 million plan to install an “electronic brain” that would “detect and control the flow of vehicles” throughout the city.

A test was subsequently undertaken along Eglinton Ave. using an IBM 650 mainframe computer. This project proved so successful that the world’s first, real-time, automatic traffic signal control computer (Univac 1107) was installed in “Old” City Hall four years later.

It controlled the operation of 1,164 signals.

Since then there’s been no end of attempts to improve our traffic management system. Anyone remember 1992’s SCOOT project?

From those four electronically controlled signals that were activated at Yonge and Bloor Sts. 92 years ago to today’s 2,339 intersections that utilize 18,712 signals to control ever increasing numbers of cars, trucks, buses, streetcars, bicycles and, oh yes, pedestrians, all we can do is to wish the Mayor well in his well-intentioned attempt to ensure that next traffic light I approach is green.

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