City-appointed traffic agents will be deployed to key Toronto intersections this year to help with morning and afternoon peak travel periods.
The agents are special constables and will ensure all road users comply with laws and regulations in an attempt to reduce congestion and increase road safety.
“Expanding the City’s Traffic Agents Program is an important step in our efforts to manage traffic congestion in Toronto with common sense solutions,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “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.”
Here is a list of intersections where the first wave of agents will be deployed:
- Front Street West and Bay Street
- Front Street West and Simcoe Street
- Front Street West and University Avenue/York Street
- Adelaide Street West and University Avenue
- Adelaide Street East and Jarvis Street
- Queen Street West and Bay Street
- Wellington Street West and Simcoe Street
- Lower Jarvis Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East
- York Street and Gardiner Expressway (on-ramp)
- Bloor Street West and Bay Street
- Bay Street and Richmond Street West
- Spadina Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West
- Yonge Street and Lake Shore Boulevard
- Bremner Boulevard and York Street
- Eglinton Avenue West and Allen Road
- Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue
According to the 2022 Global Scorecard, Toronto congestion is amongst the worst on the planet with local drivers losing 118 hours every year sitting in traffic.
In addition to agents, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) is supporting the program on a six-month pilot basis by providing up to 20 police and special constables at strategic intersections during peak periods. On-duty resources will not be used for the pilot project.
“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,” said Lauren Pogue, deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service. “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.”
Agents will be able to do the following:
- ensure people driving obey traffic laws, such as speed limits, stop signs, and traffic signals and prevent people from stopping to pick up or drop off passengers along key intersection approaches
- prevent vehicles from stopping in the intersection after the signal has changed, which prevents on-coming traffic from travelling through (known as “blocking the box”)
- stop pedestrians from crossing the intersection once the pedestrian signal starts displaying the red hand
- ensure people cycling are following the rules of the road
- monitor parking at critical locations to maintain an efficient flow
According to the city, more agents must be hired to reach the approved complement for 2023. The project was first piloted in 2016 and resulted in a 70 per cent reduction in blockage of intersections by pedestrians.
The traffic agents program is part of MoveTO. More information is available on the City’s program webpage.