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Toronto Mayor John Tory assembles traffic ‘Big Data’ team

Toronto Mayor John Tory wants to analyze statistics about traffic flow to better gauge how the city can relieve congestion. (rmnoa357/

Like many cities, Toronto grapples with relentless traffic snarls. Oliver Moore reports for the Globe and Mail that Mayor John Tory is assembling a “Big Data” traffic team to better understand the root causes. The information could help the city pinpoint exactly which times traffic peaks and whether congestion mitigation strategies might improve or worsen the situation.

Canada’s largest city has a reputation for lacking hard numbers about traffic flow and how changes to road configurations might impact drivers, the article says. The data team is intended to fill the “vacuum of information,” Moore writes. A September “hackathon” would let computer whizzes sift through the numbers to see if they can identify useful nuggets.

Tory’s approach is modeled loosely after successful efforts in other cities. A “virtual traffic manager” in Amsterdam is credited with reducing congestion ten percent, while Barcelona has designed an app that lets residents access real-time traffic updates. The mayor announced the data team as a new report indicated that Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa top the list of traffic-jammed Canadian cities.

Globe & Mail

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