Better planning for traffic signals during power outages

PLANNING: A collaboration between the city council and Orion means it will be known what traffic signals are to be impacted by planned power outages. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

What traffic signals would be impacted when planned power outages take place will now be known thanks to a collaboration between the city council and Orion.

The city council’s Christchurch Transport Operations Centre have been working with the local lines company on how to better prepare when planned power outages take place.

Previously, Orion gave 20 days notice as to when a planned outage would take place in a certain area, but it was difficult to tell what traffic signals were impacted.

So CTOC provided Orion with its mapping information for each traffic signal.

Orion has put the information into its database, and has given each signal an identifying icon and a reference number.

Now, when power outages are planned, Orion can tell CTOC which signals will be affected.

CTOC real time services team leader Ray Young said occasionally it needed to bring in alternative power sources such as temporary generators when there was an outage.

But they needed time to set them up, which made forward planning important, he said.

When signals went off, motorists needed to rely on universal road rules, which could create “unusual driving behaviours” and slower traffic, Mr Young said.

“We try to avoid this where possible, and this new information sharing between Orion and CTOC allows us to plan for traffic signal outages. It means we can take steps to ensure a smoother, safer traffic flow.”