Real-time traffic data; Police, Pride, and the Parade; Trends in tree hugging advocacy; What is an “intersectional gender-based framework”?; The long wait for Aboriginal office at Toronto city hall

An image from the Here website, the company contracted by The City of Toronto to provide traffic-flow data to the city. The data will not be made available to technology companies who want to develop their own applications. “We can’t give it to private sector partners or to other levels of government, because it is commercial data and there is a business model that these folks are trying to maintain,” explained Gregg Loane, manager for ITS Capital Delivery in Transportation Services. “We have to be careful and we have respect the agreement that we have with Here, but we will be able to offer it to our colleagues in other divisions within the city.” The TTC will have access.

An image from the Here website, the company contracted by The City of Toronto to provide traffic-flow data to the city. The data will not be made available to technology companies who want to develop their own applications. “We can’t give it to private sector partners or to other levels of government, because it is commercial data and there is a business model that these folks are trying to maintain,” explained Gregg Loane, manager for ITS Capital Delivery in Transportation Services. “We have to be careful and we have respect the agreement that we have with Here, but we will be able to offer it to our colleagues in other divisions within the city.” The TTC will have access.

Weekend News Brief: May 14, 2017

What happened at Toronto City Hall last week

Real-time traffic data to manage traffic. This past week the city announced it will be using new data from the company Here to better understand traffic flow. Gregg Loane, manager for ITS Capital Delivery in Transportation Services, said the city has traditionally relied on sensors embedded in expressways to measure traffic flow. The new information is coming from vehicle fleets – automated vehicle location information (think technology used by courier or taxi companies to locate their drivers) – to measure flow all over the city. “We’ve never had the benefit of that kind of traffic-flow information on our arterials, because we just couldn’t embed sensors across our entire road network,” Loane explained. Previously, reports from Uber and Inrix suggested the city was slow to catch up to how commercial companies were using data. Currently, as summer road-construction season starts to ramp up, the city will use data from Here to identify intersections that may require redesign for safety and for the purpose of analyzing traffic flow. “Safety and congestion are tied together. So one of the benefits we expect to get out of this new data set is the identification of congestion hot spots across the city,” Loane said “If congestion becomes chronic or acute, that causes a certain driver behaviour and that leads to safety concerns. So we want to smooth out the congestion, have flow improve wherever it can and we can identify where those needs exist using the Here data.”

Pride welcomes police to march in parade, just not with their guns. Will Toronto Police policy allow it? Organizers from Pride Toronto were at city hall on Monday to speak about the importance of $260,000 of municipal funding for their operations, and about a statement released Sunday night requesting police not to be in uniform, carry weapons or be in police vehicles if they participate in the parade. However, a deeper dive on the issue reveals that it’s not just the uniforms that are the real problem. (Read the story)

The long wait for Aboriginal office at Toronto city hall. After waiting a year for a report on the creation of an Aboriginal office, a very short presentation finally came to the Aboriginal Advisory Committee on Friday. Members were upset to find no plan of action included, but rather an outline of more procedural steps to be taken. Crystal Basi, executive director of Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council, was astounded as she questioned the amount of work completed in the year. “I don’t understand how so little information could be gathered in 365 days when it took me 30 minutes to [find the same amount of research],” Basi said. Mayor John Tory’s office issued a statement in response. Councillor Mike Layton says he wants to see more done to make the office a reality. (Read the story)

Toronto trends in tree hugging advocacy? Lawrence Park residents spent $10,000 on a Forum Research poll. (Read the story)


On deck this week: May 15 – 19

Monday: Library Board

Tuesday: Executive Committee

Wednesday: Board of Health

Thursday: Preservation Board, Police Services Board, TTC Board

Friday: Accessibility Advisory Committee


Buzzwording alert

This past week at city hall, the Budget Committee heard from members of the public about its future budget direction. In reviewing the background documents, we found the city is currently developing an “Intersectional Gender-Based Framework” for the process. Our reaction? Wowza! What does an intersectional gender-based framework EVEN MEAN when it comes to municipal budgeting?! So we asked city staff – what exactly IS the definition of the “intersectional gender-based framework” that they will be using, anyways? Also, what the heck is the difference between an “intersectional gender-based framework” and a mere “gender-based framework”? Like, is something gonna be intersected together? After numerous requests for answers, city staff said the person who handles these questions was not available. We were like WHAA?

In conclusion, we say – if your budget framework looks and sounds kinda buzzwordy, and no one so much as defines it – well, then, you just may be guilty of buzzwording.


This news brief was written by Arianne Robinson.

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