Friday, August 17, 2012

Bluetooth technology keeps Calgarians on the move

With summer construction well underway, The City of Calgary is piloting a new Bluetooth technology to help Calgarians stay informed of construction delays during their commutes.

This innovative technology collects publicly available information from Bluetooth devices in vehicles and estimates travel times and congestion. These times can then be displayed on electronic signs located at key intersections.

The Deerfoot Trail /16 Avenue North Interchange Bridge Deck Rehabilitation project has provided The City with an opportunity to test the Bluetooth detection system in a busy construction zone. This large-scale maintenance project, which is being done by Alberta Transportation, requires a series of rotating eastbound lane closures on the bridge that carries 16 Avenue over Deerfoot Trail, and is expected to be ongoing until mid-September. This is the first time this technology has been used in Calgary to predict travel times in a constantly shifting construction environment.

Electronic signs with estimated travel times have been strategically placed along 16 Avenue North, near alternate routes such as Crowchild Trail, 14 Street N.W., Centre Street, and Edmonton Trail.

“We want to deliver accurate information about delays and travel times directly to drivers during their commute,” says Gord Elenko, Manager of The City of Calgary’s Traffic division. “With this technology, drivers will be able to make informed route planning choices, which we believe will help reduce congestion and decrease driver frustration.”

The City successfully tested this Bluetooth travel time system along Deerfoot Trail in 2010, and found it to be very effective in estimating travel times during congestion. In fall 2012, Calgarians will start to see similar Bluetooth detection systems installed permanently on major routes such as Deerfoot Trail -  from  Airport Trial  to 130 Avenue South , Crowchild Trail- from Glenmore Trail to 24 Avenue N.W., and Glenmore Trail - from Deerfoot Trail to Crowchild Trail.

We have The five Bluetooth sensors installed for this project along 16 Avenue, at 29 Street N.W., 19 Street N.W., 2 Street N.W., 6 Street N.E., and the southeast intersection of Deerfoot Trail.

The  travel time displayed on the signs is more accurate for the ramp to northbound Deerfoot due to the placement of the last sensor.  The time to southbound Deerfoot  Trail is usually a couple minutes less than the time displayed. We are limited in the amount of info we can put on the message boards, because too much info can distract drivers. Rest assured the travel time information is still accurate, we are just providing the travel time to the farthest ramp.

For more information, please visit

Do you drive on 16 Avenue North? Has the Bluetooth system helped you plan your commute? Tell us what you think about the Bluetooth system in this construction area.

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