New-style traffic lights

In passing the city’s signals yard on Gladstone near the OTrain track, I noticed that an intersection’s worth of signals were up and running, but with signal heads I have previously not seen in Ottawa.


Cities with streetcars or surface rail use signals with different size heads or the ‘straight bar’ of light to signal transit drivers when to stop and go. Motorists continue to obey signal heads with the standard roundish light that we are familiar with.

But Ottawa doesn’t have a surface rail system, and we junked our streetcars half a century ago. So I found myself wondering just where they might be plannng on using these different heads.

Two possible applications came to mind: First,  for signalling buses in bus lanes at intersections when there are other lanes of general traffic, and the bus is getting its own instructions. For example, on the Albert or Slater bus lanes in the downtown.

My second speculation is for the new on-street bus lanes planned for 2014 when the transitway is closed, for example, Albert Street through the Flats, or maybe Scott Street. Recall that when the transitway is closed, a number of regular city streets will be temporarily modified to take additional bus volumes.


7 thoughts on “New-style traffic lights

  1. Three places come to mind that use these for bus advance priority, but they are white lights – Baseline and Prince of Wales, Heron and Bronson, and Holland at the Queensway

    1. Baseline and POW I can picture, but I must confess to not recalling the traffic signal heads. Another location for bus priority is the intersection of Richmond at Golden.

  2. You can also see the white bars on Carling westbound at Holland for the left-turn lane.

    I’ve never seen or heard of this type of design for the coloured balls, and you can see that the stripes are there too for the yellow and green. I suspect they’re simply testing masking materials.

  3. I asked staff. They are testing new LED lights, and the masking is to keep them from disrupting the neighbours. It’s not some special new type of signal.

    1. See Eric… this is what happens when you open your mind to the idea of staff thinking outside the box and employing creativity, even if it means adopting some idea from elsewhere: disappointment when reality sets in.

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