Traffic Control Centre

Almost every signalized intersection in the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo is controlled by a computer in the Region of Waterloo's Traffic Control Centre at 150 Frederick St., Kitchener.


Benefits of computerized traffic control

  • Co-ordination among traffic signals along major streets
  • Standardization of signal equipment
  • Maximized capacity of road network
  • Reduced
    • traffic congestion
    • delays
    • number of stops
    • fuel consumption
    •  vehicle emissions
    • overall travel time
    • driver frustration
    • rear-end collisions
    • idling time
  • Improved
    • response to changing traffic conditions
    • response to signal failures and malfunctions
    • data collection and traffic reporting
    • legal documentation

Factors influencing traffic co-ordination

A major objective of computerized traffic control is good co-ordination between signals to minimize delays for motorists travelling on major streets. However, no matter how sophisticated the equipment, green lights are not possible for all traffic all the time.

Many factors influence co-ordination, including:

  • Direction of the major traffic flow
  • Changing traffic volumes throughout the day
  • Large number of vehicles turning
  • One-way or two-way streets
  • Distances between traffic signals
  • Left-turn arrows
  • Heavy pedestrian volumes
  • Vehicles speeding or travelling too slowly
  • Bus manoeuvres
  • Heavy trucks
  • On-street parking
  • Emergency vehicle pre-emption ( green light for emergency vehicles)
  • Collisions
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Changes in signal timing plan

 Scheduled changes you might notice:

  • Presence or absence of left-turn arrows
  • Longer or shorter green lights
  • Changes in co-ordination between traffic signals

Traffic control features

Examples of special features which can be implemented by the Traffic Control Centre include:

  • Customized pedestrian plans for school crossings
  • Special events, such as street festivals and fairs
  • Christmas shopping hours
  • Shopping and entertainment centres
  • Construction detours
  • Emergency vehicle pre-emption