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Ontario gives transit green light to shorten traffic signals

Last Updated Wed, 19 Apr 2006 13:21:18 EDT
CBC News


Some transit riders in Ontario may find their daily commute a little bit shorter thanks to new traffic-light rules.

The province on Wednesday gave the green light to new technology allowing bus and streetcar drivers to change the length of a signal as they approach an intersection.

"This technology gets riders to their destination more quickly," Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar said in a statement Wednesday.

The new changes will allow a bus or streetcar driver to shorten a red signal – or lengthen a green one.

"This makes better use of our road space and promotes transit as a faster alternative to the car," said Canadian Urban Transit Association President Michael Roschlau.

Help to commuters

"This announcement is good news for transit riders as it can help to cut down on commuting time."

Other transit maintenance vehicles will also be able to take advantage of the technology which, up to now, has been able only by emergency vehicles.

Still, unathorized use of that technology could prove costly, as one man in Colorado found out this year.

Jason Niccum of Longmont, Colo., bought a device two years ago on online auction house eBay that allows him to change the length of lights.

The strobe-like device cost him $100, he said.

'Paid for itself'

"I guess in the two years I had it, that thing paid for itself," he told a local newspaper.

But, police did eventually catch him.

On March 29, Niccum was stopped and given a citation for $50 for using the device – and police also took it away from him.

"I'm always running late," a police report quoted Niccum as saying.
 

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awesome news. i'm tired of transit taking longer than it does to drive myself. it's not worth the cost anymore when it takes twice as long on transit as it does if i drove myself to my destination.
 
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