Montréal Using Bluetooth to Address its Urban Traffic Problem


In order to address its urban traffic problem, the city of Montréal in Quebec is using Bluetooth signal detectors to monitor and analyze traffic patterns in real-time. According to Radio-Canada (via Tech Crunch), the city has installed over a hundred detectors in the past couple of months, which monitor traffic patterns daily instead of just once a year during an annual traffic study.


The idea behind the new project is to track Bluetooth devices being used by people in vehicles, and then tagging their unique MAC address and looking for it again at other sites to judge how quickly cars are moving through traffic. The source notes that this data is not tied to any specific individuals, and that it can help the city keep an eye on how the flow of cars are moving across the city.

Keeping a closer eye on traffic patterns is definitely helpful in terms of city planning, making it possible to do stuff that could positively impact congestion throughout the year, instead of just as the result of a once-annual review. And Bluetooth tracking hardware is relatively cheap to install, and doesn’t require any special vehicle-to-infrastructure communications tech to be built-in to cars on the road.

The city is now also planning to install hockey puck-sized Bluetooth sensors in street spaces to help with roadway traffic, so that it can know when a spot is empty and direct drivers to those locations.


  • Stephen

    It sounds Intriguing and hopefully actually useful, but my pessimistic side also wouldn’t be surprised to find out that this tracking wasn’t being kept in a database somewhere for ‘investigative purposes’

  • Mrleblanc

    Problem A) Very few people have Bluetooth turned on
    Problem B) iPhone use MAC address randomization to prevent tracking

  • johnnygoodface

    A) Anybody who connects their iPhone with their car radio has BT enabled all time
    B) MAC Randomization applies only to WiFi