New technologies keep traffic flowing in Waterloo Region2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Have you ever wondered about the traffic signals that help you get where you need to go? It’s all controlled by a system with smart sensors and computers, designed to reduce traffic congestion and emissions.
For years, the Region of Waterloo has been innovating to help keep cars, bikes, pedestrians and everyone else moving smoothly and safely. Back in the 1970s, our traffic signals changed from red to yellow to green using a built-in clock that never changed, no matter what traffic was like.
In the 1980s, the Region introduced our first computer-based traffic control system. Now, some intersections had sensors built into the road to detect vehicles and change the signal when someone was waiting.
In the 1990s, the Region made a big upgrade with video technology that detected cars at an intersection and changed the lights when needed. The Region’s first video camera system (called the Autoscope 2003LE) was installed at Wilson and Fairway in Kitchener in 1995. We were the first in Ontario to use this system at traffic signals.
Of course, we didn’t stop there. Today, our traffic signal system works to shorten travel times for everyone. Even a few seconds saved per vehicle adds up fast! Fewer traffic delays mean each vehicle uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions. Plus, drivers arrive happier.
Over the years, we’ve also used traffic signal technology to give priority to important vehicles like ambulances, fire vehicles, buses, and ION trains.
The installation of new traffic signal technology in 1995 is just one of 50 Region of Waterloo milestones we’re highlighting this year. Why? Because our community reached an important anniversary in 2023 – we turned 50!
In 1973, our current Region of Waterloo municipality was formed. The anniversary is a chance to look back at where we’ve come from, celebrate how far we’ve come, and look ahead to where we’re going.
Check out these other recent milestone stories:
- Learn how the idea for Doon Heritage Village was born on a European vacation, and how the Region helped transform the site in 1982. Read it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Learn how a colourful new Butterfly Approach creates a compassionate home for people with dementia. Read it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Learn why Region of Waterloo libraries are putting more board games, museum passes, and other non-book items on the shelves. Read it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.