City of Burnaby partners on innovative traffic solution at Metrotown

Last updated: October 8, 2021

The City of Burnaby is embracing innovation to solve a long-standing traffic issue at one of the busiest transit stations in Metro Vancouver.

The Problem

Buses on 12 different routes need to make a left turn in order to enter the bus loop at the Metrotown SkyTrain Station. But without a dedicated left-turn lane, buses were bunching up waiting to make a turn, slowing down transit as well as through traffic on Central Boulevard.

The Solution

The City partnered with TransLink and local company Botech Engineering and Consulting Inc. to deploy a cutting-edge LiDAR system at the intersection. The innovative LiDAR system uses lasers to detect buses, activating a special LED signal that gives buses a protected left turn into the bus loop.

This is the first time a LiDAR-based sensor has been deployed to detect buses in a mixed stream of traffic on a travel lane. LiDAR can precisely detect length and height to identify a bus in total darkness, shade, snow or rain — something artificial intelligence-based (AI) cameras can’t do.

The Result 

  • Reduced delays as buses make the advance turn without impeding traffic.
  • Improved pedestrian safety at the intersection.
  • The City saves time and money by not having to install a dedicated left-turn lane for buses only, which would have required the City to acquire property or reduce the number of traffic lanes.

Encouraging more Burnaby residents to choose low-carbon transportation options is a key pillar in Burnaby’s upcoming Transportation Plan Update, as well as This is Climate Action, the framework developed to guide how the City will put into action its commitment to be “carbon neutral” (no longer contributing to the carbon emissions that accelerate climate change) by 2050.

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