UofT launches new transportation program

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TORONTO, Ont. — The University of Toronto is launching the country’s first academic program aimed at studying traffic congestion and transportation issues.

The university’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Centre features views of more than 200 roadside cameras in the Greater Toronto Area, which students will be studying to get a better understanding of the challenges posed by gridlock traffic.

"This center has an eye on the roads, 24 hours a dayand we treat Toronto as a laboratory," engineering professor Baher Abdulhai tells local media.

Students will be studying patters that develop under various weather, accident and volume conditions and as a result of the better understanding they will gain about traffic volumes, they hope new technology can be built to help alleviate the problems it causes.

"The idea is to monitor traffic with a real time eye and analyze the information coming in," says Abdulhai. "Once you discover a problemthe system can start formulating mitigation strategies out of a number of solutions available to you."

Ultimately, he says it may be possible to develop a wireless messaging technology that could give route advice to driver’s based on current traffic conditions. Another possibility is the addition of traffic signals at on-ramps that would only allow manageable levels of traffic onto busy highways. But those are long-term possibilities, says Abdulhai.

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