Variable Speed Limit Pilot Project in BC

British Columbia is unique in its challenges. The highways network has more than 46,000 km of roadway and 21 major mountain passes which can be susceptible to rapidly changing road weather conditions. To ensure the safety of the public, BC has been following our BC on the Move, A Ten Year Transportation Plan. One of the key priorities of the plan is to improve highway safety. This plan encourages the use of intelligent transportation technologies to reduce collisions, monitor and manage traffic flows, and provide travellers with timely information. The Ministry recognized that there was a need to develop a system that provided a reliable driving experience during adverse weather conditions to address driver error, distraction and speeding. As part of the commitment to invest in new road safety improvement program, the Ministry designed, constructed and implemented a variable speed limit (VSL) system on 3 corridors in British Columbia that experience rapidly changing weather conditions. These corridors were noted as having severe winter weather conditions, high elevation changes, and a poor road safety performance during winter conditions. The variable speed limit systems were implemented on Highway 5 the Coquihalla, through Snowshed Hill, along Highway 99 between Squamish and Whistler and on Highway 1 from Sicamous to Revelstoke. The VSL system that the Ministry has developed uses road side collected data on surface conditions, weather, and vehicle speed to make a speed limit recommendation. Variable speed limits were implemented to provide a more reliable driving experience by using real time road condition information to calculate speed limits based on current conditions. These pilot systems will improve safety in adverse weather by lowering the speed limits based on conditions. The variable speed limit system has been operational since 2016 and ministry staff have had an opportunity to monitor the changing driver behaviors over the course of this first winter season. Based on the data that has been collected, it is observed drivers are reducing their speeds on the variable speed corridors when a lowered speed limit is posted. Between December 23 and 30, 2016, BC experienced a severe snow event that impacted all 3 corridors as part of the pilot. Analysis of the posted speeds, 85th percentile and precipitation on the corridors showed that drivers responded to the system and lowered their driving speeds.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Pagination: 1 PDF file, 1.4 MB, 10p.
  • Monograph Title: TAC 2017: Investing in Transportation: Building Canada's Economy - - 2017 Conference and Exhibition of the Transportation Association of Canada

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01668479
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transportation Association of Canada (TAC)
  • Files: ITRD, TAC
  • Created Date: May 3 2018 3:16PM