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How the Rogers-UBC Partnership is Building Smarter Transportation and Healthier Cities

This first project of its kind in Canada uses a network of sensors and other cloud-connected hardware to reinvent the way that cities manage urban intersections

Rogers Communications and The University of British Columbia (UBC) are building an innovation ecosystem to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges through the power of 5G technology. Through our multi-year partnership, launched in 2018 and renewed in late 2021, Rogers and UBC have been working alongside public, private and academic partners with the goal of leveraging 5G to solve problems ranging from traffic congestion and climate change to wildfires and earthquakes.

Rogers and its research partners are working on several projects related to intelligent transportation, leveraging UBC’s AURORA connected vehicle testbed. The researchers are using the testbed, powered by Rogers 5G, to explore ways to reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety, while also enhancing commercial vehicle operations and efficiencies. As traffic congestion is improved, it also reduces harmful emissions, improving air quality and helping in the fight against climate change.

The AURORA testbed is home to the Detection & Traffic Management pilot, which involves the deployment of the NoTraffic autonomous traffic management system at seven signalized intersections and two roundabouts across UBC’s Vancouver campus. This first project of its kind in Canada uses a network of sensors and other cloud-connected hardware to reinvent the way that cities manage urban intersections.

The AI-powered platform automatically controls traffic light grids, helping to reduce road congestion, coordinate transit and emergency services, and improve safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Hamed Noori is an electrical and computer engineering researcher working on the AURORA testbed, focusing on the future of transportation.

“Imagine you are having an autonomous driving car going 100 miles per hour through an intersection, because the future should be like that. And, if there are some cyclists coming, that car should know immediately, so it can take action,” said Hamed. “With the help of Rogers, we are using 5G to be able to actually implement this kind of technology.”

Traffic management and air quality are inextricably linked, with approximately 24% of Canada’s greenhouse emissions coming from the transportation sector. The partnership’s Air Quality project is leveraging AURORA data to support UBC’s ambitious emission-reduction goals.

Since June 2021, a network of eight Air Quality sensors have been deployed on UBC campus, co-located with AURORA traffic sensors, to develop air quality algorithms to isolate vehicle-specific emissions. The 5G-connected, solar-powered Air Quality sensors can measure a wide range of potentially harmful air pollutants every 15 seconds, as well as monitor wind speed and direction. A business intelligence dashboard system, meanwhile, monitors and tracks campus air quality.

Through these projects, which leverage UBC’s campus as a living lab and academic expertise, Rogers and UBC are helping to define and develop the 5G-powered technology solutions necessary in order to build the smarter, healthier cities of the future.