Vancouver to get real-time traffic data

The provincial government is setting up a regional traffic management centre — with Richmond attempting to be the first to sign up — that uses fibre optic cables to link individual cities’ traffic cameras, counters and signals to the regional centre to give a real-time picture on road conditions.

 It’s in some ways similar to the $5.8 million real-time policing centre announced last year and expected to be in operation in 2017 that seeks to link up various policing agencies so crimes in one city are immediately noted by surrounding police forces in the region.

Richmond already has plans to have its network of 30 traffic cameras, vehicle volume data, traffic signal statuses and incidents connected with the “Regional Transportation Management Centre,” which opened in fall 2013, but has yet to have a single Metro Vancouver city fully connected to its “advanced traffic management system” software, according to a Richmond council report.

The work would be funded by the provincial government — which did not provide a budget by Monday’s deadline — and costs are mainly associated with making cable and fibre optic network connections to the regional centre.

“For example, if there is an unexpected traffic incident occurring at the south end of the (Massey) tunnel, Richmond roadways leading to the tunnel would be significantly affected,” said Richmond spokeswoman Kim Decker.

“Our co-ordination with the ministry would allow us to firstly know about the incident in real-time as it occurs and secondly adjust signal timings on Richmond roadways to favour the movement of diverted traffic to alternative routes.”

Richmond’s cable connections are expected to be installed by the end of March 2015, and real-time information will be posted on — expected for the later part of the year.