June 6, 2018 by The Canadian Press
TORONTO – The Canadian Automobile Association says there are a number of simple measures that could be taken to reduce congestion on roads across the country.
A CAA-commissioned study released last year estimated the country’s worst bottlenecks result in 11.5 million hours worth of delays and drain about 22 million litres of fuel per year.
In a followup report released Tuesday, the CAA says improved traffic management would have the biggest affect on congestion at the lowest cost.
It recommends retiming traffic lights, better managing the response to breakdowns and collisions, implementing speed limits that adjust to smooth traffic flow, and regulating the volume of traffic entering highways.
It says Toronto spent $850,000 per year from 2012 to 2015 in traffic light retiming and analysis shows that the public saved $64 in time, fuel and air pollution benefits for every dollar spent.
Other recommendations include bicycle sharing, ride sharing, carpooling, investment in urban transit and congestion charges.
“Weather and other issues may be challenges in an effort to expand bike sharing,” the report says.
But it says building segregated bike lanes to increase safety is a relatively low-cost solution to entice more commuters to cycle rather than take their car to work.
It says most commuters drive solo, noting that in Toronto only eight of every 100 vehicles on the road are carrying a passenger.
“If 12 more of these drivers carried a passenger, we would save $750 million a year in operating and infrastructure costs,” the report says.
“Congestion charges can be an effective way of changing behaviour to reduce congestion and pay for infrastructure,” it says.
In Vancouver, the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission is examining ways to improve how transportation is priced, including use of roads and bridges.
And it says replacing intersections with roundabouts would provide a safer environment, while the absence of traffic lights would shortens idling time and benefit left-turning vehicles.
“A study in the northeastern United States found that roundabouts had reduced delays during peak times by a minimum of 83 per cent, while congestion dropped by at least 58 per cent,” the Congestion Solutions report says.