Adapting to peak travel times in St. Albert

As a popular commuter route, the corridor of Boudreau Road in the City of St. Albert, Alberta experiences significant traffic volumes throughout the day with citizens traveling daily to and from the nearby City of Edmonton. Using traditional time-of-day signal coordination, the corridor performed well throughout the day but faced additional challenges, including:

  • Variable traffic conditions
  • Side-street delays
  • Peak-hour congestion

Deploying a multimodal adaptive signal control system using Surtrac by Rapid Flow Technologies and Miovision TrafficLink, St. Albert was able to address these challenges, taking their signal optimization to the next level by:

  • Implementing a real-time adaptive signal control system
  • Integrating intelligent video detection to support effective, real-time, signal optimization
  • Analyzing performance measures to continuously evaluate and adapt how the system is performing

The Boudreau Road corridor is a key commuter route and network link in St. Albert. We see a need to be able to adapt to variable traffic conditions, while collecting multimodal data to best manage and evaluate our network with limited staff resources. Rapid Flow and Miovision have delivered on these objectives and we continue to see opportunities with their technology. — Dean Schick, Manager of Transportation, City of St.Albert

The combination of Surtrac adaptive control, TrafficLink Video Detection, and performance metrics from both systems, delivered improved performance along the corridor, including:

  • A 14% reduction in westbound travel times along the Boudreau corridor between the highway off ramp on Campbell Road and St. Albert Trail
  • An overall 19% reduction in average per-vehicle delay compared to coordinated time-of-day plans (559 hours saved over the 5-day study period)
  • A 60% reduction in wait times for vehicles entering the Boudreau corridor from Campbell Road (and Highway 216), a critical left-turn movement for commuters

What is adaptive traffic control?

Conventional signal timing plans involve the controller at an intersection reading a predetermined plan based on historical traffic trends within the area. This means that even though traffic conditions change throughout the day, the controller follows the pre-programmed signal timing plan no matter what is actually happening at the intersection. Adaptive traffic control systems allow the traffic controller at an intersection to adapt in real-time to traffic conditions, adjusting the signal timings as needed to optimize performance.

Starting with a strong foundation

Using conventional offset-based traffic signal coordination, the Boudreau Road corridor was already operating well. To improve travel times along this vital commuter route, Rapid Flow implemented the Surtrac adaptive traffic control system, giving traffic controllers the ability to make real-time signal timing changes and minimize delays, especially during peak travel times like morning and evening rush hours.

The Surtrac system relies on detection to accurately capture what’s happening at an intersection. Miovision TrafficLink and its multimodal video detection was an ideal fit to enhance the detection capabilities of the Surtrac system, providing reliable real-time data to inform efficient signal timing.

Continuously improving

With Miovision TrafficLink deployed at 11 intersections along the Boudreau Road corridor, video detection at these locations provide the Surtrac system with the data needed to output specific signal timing based on live traffic conditions. Equipped with advanced traffic AI, Miovision video detection also continues to learn as more and more data is collected.

Combining the Surtrac system with the Miovision TrafficLink Performance Measures, Rapid Flow and the City can also evaluate how well the system is performing in real-time. Based on these evaluations, the Rapid Flow team can make necessary adjustments to its predictive traffic models to optimize overall network performance.

Moving forward, this partnership will give St. Albert additional opportunities to explore the adaptive control system’s ability to:

  • React to non-recurring traffic events like collisions, adverse weather conditions, and local events
  • Continue to improve corridor performance over the long term as Miovision’s AI continues to learn and improve detection
  • More effectively incorporate pedestrians and cyclists into the adaptive control optimization