The City of Toronto is expanding its Traffic Agents Program to increase road safety and better manage traffic congestion.
A total of 30 Traffic Agents are budgeted to be deployed this year, with the first wave of new employees currently being deployed to critical intersections across Toronto.
The City’s Traffic Agents program is a congestion management strategy that places Traffic Agents employed by the City at key intersections during the morning and afternoon peak traffic periods. Traffic Agents ensure all road users comply with traffic laws and regulations, helping to reduce congestion and increase road safety. They also play a crucial role in ensuring roads are clear for emergency services and public transit.
As Special Constables, Traffic Agents:
In addition to ensuring the orderly movement of traffic, Traffic Agents assist with traffic management during events or road closures.
The 14 Traffic Agents – including 11 new employees – will be placed where they are needed most based on evolving traffic demands and the need to improve safety and congestion. One or two agents will be deployed to a single location depending on the size and complexity of an intersection.
All Traffic Agents will currently be deployed to the following priority locations:
City staff will continue to observe traffic volumes and peak traffic times and will deploy Traffic Agents to other locations accordingly.
The City is in the process of hiring additional Traffic Agents to reach the full approved complement for 2023 and they will be trained and deployed as quickly as possible.
The Traffic Agent program was successfully piloted in 2016. During the pilot period, there was at least a 90 per cent reduction in blocked intersections and a 70 per cent reduction in blockage of intersections by pedestrians.
To help substantially increase the City’s ability to manage traffic this spring and summer, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) is also supporting the Traffic Agents program on a six-month pilot basis by leveraging Police and Special Constables to be assigned to strategic intersections during peak traffic periods. Up to 20 Special Constables and Police Constables per day can find staff locations on a call-back basis during rush hour, with some assignments on weekends. On-duty resources will not be used for the pilot project.
Current TPS members with Special Constable designation with specific Highway Traffic Act training in traffic direction have the authority and ability to perform traffic direction assignments. Traffic direction is a component of Special Constable new hires, including in-class and practical training.
The Traffic Agents program is one of the many tactics included in MoveTO. This action plan aims to help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern and safe transportation system. Aligned with the City’s Vision Zero Road Safety Plan and the Goods Movement Strategy, MoveTO uses piloted and proven techniques and technologies to manage vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist traffic along key corridors and intersections in Toronto.
More information is available on the City’s Traffic Agents webpage: www.toronto.ca/TrafficAgents.
The City continues to implement the various actions of the MoveTO plan as travel demand in Toronto continues to rise in tandem with transit expansion and population and economic growth. These actions include:
With a full roster of spring and summer events around the corner, the City is also improving traffic flow around major venues in Toronto. City staff are working closely with MLSE, Rogers and other partners to establish Event Traffic Management Zones that comprise major venue blocks such as the Rogers Centre, Scotiabank Arena, the CN Tower and Exhibition Place grounds. These zones will feature increased traffic management support from Traffic Agents, traffic control personnel, temporary traffic signal timing changes and portable variable message signs to manage the flow of event attendees and ensure a better flow of non-event traffic in the area.
“Expanding the City’s Traffic Agents Program is an important step in our efforts to manage traffic congestion in Toronto with common sense solutions. Increasing the number of Traffic Agents will help us provide better service to the public and ensure that our streets are safe and accessible for all road users. We are committed to investing in innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for everyone in our city.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park)
“By providing Special Constables and Police Constables to assist with the Traffic Agents Program on a call-back model, we are joining the City in its efforts to mitigate traffic and pedestrian congestion and improve safety for all road users. This six-month pilot project aligns with the Service’s traffic safety goals and enhances our commitment to Vision Zero as we work to reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on Toronto’s streets.”
– Lauren Pogue, Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Service
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