Canadian city starts ‘PBM’ project using connected vehicle technologies


The public transport operator in the Canadian city of Laval, the largest suburb of the Montreal metropolitan region, has embarked on a major program of what it calls ‘PBMs’ – Preferential Bus Measures.

Transport operator the Société de transport de Laval (STL) is responsible for Laval’s largest work project, which will implement five measures that will prioritize public transit. The changes being made will allow STL to increase service on the city’s largest arteries and improve public transit in Laval. The innovative project uses several ‘connected vehicle’ technologies, including vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, with the city’s bus fleet already linked to the STL’s Synchro real-time information network that uses: a smartphone application and widgets, telephone ‘next bus’ details, interactive terminals and screens, live schedule signage, and a dedicated website.

The PBMs include:

8.3 miles (13.4km) of reserved lanes that will allow buses to avoid traffic congestion by driving in lanes exclusively reserved for public transit; One central reserved lane running down one of the city’s main boulevards; Six bypass lanes that prevent congestion, especially at the approach of intersections; 10 ‘Candlestick’ lights using red, yellow, green and white colors, with the vertical white stripe added to some traffic lights allowing buses to leave the intersection before cars; 227 smart traffic lights that form the cornerstone of STL’s PBM implementation plan, and allows buses to send a signal to the traffic light, informing it about the number of riders on the bus and whether it is ahead of, or behind, schedule. This information is then used to extend or shorten the green light by a few seconds to facilitate re-entry into the traffic flow. The new and innovative technology represents 90% of the traffic lights in the city covered by STL routes; 55 bus stops and shelters have been moved to the other side of intersections covered by the smart traffic lights, rather than being located before the light, for buses to get a head start.

The PBM implementation is due to be completed by June 2017. The city of Laval will also be taking this opportunity to make improvements to its network of roads, pedestrian walkways and bike paths. The city’s metropolitan transport agency (AMT) is also involved in this work, implementing a new reserved lane along another of the main boulevards. The entire citywide program is 100% financed by the Quebec Ministry of Transport.

“The implementation of these preferential bus measures will undoubtedly mean improved performance and reliability for our network. It will save time for our clients, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and at the same time, encourage current and future urban development,” explained David DeCotis, president of STL’s board.

“In fact, our riders can count on saving up to five minutes of travel time. That means, 50,000 hours saved by our clients every year.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).