Artificial Intelligence Has Arrived in Rogers Pass Snowsheds

“Hey Google! Dim the lighting in our Rogers Pass snowsheds.”

Talk about smart lighting! The outdated halogen lighting systems in the Jack McDonald, Lanark and Twin snowsheds in Rogers Pass on BC Highway 1 have been replaced with energy efficient LED lighting systems. But that’s not all… the new lighting is part of an intelligent system that automatically measures the ambient daytime lighting outside the snowsheds and mimics it inside providing:

  • consistent lighting for drivers moving in and out of the snowsheds
  • reducing the potential for distractions
  • and increasing safety

How cool is that?!

To install the new system, a complete redesign of the lighting hanger system was required. The construction team scanned the concrete ceiling of the tunnels for anchoring locations and conducted numerous “pull tests” to ensure that the design was strong enough for all the equipment to be secure on the tunnel ceilings. Work also included the installation of light poles at the approaches and between the three snowsheds, as well as the construction of a building to control the lighting system.

In total the project spans approximately 1.8 kilometres, from the west entrance of the Jack McDonald snowshed to the east entrance of the Lanark snowshed, 46 kilometres east of Revelstoke.

How Does the Ambient System Work?  

Tunnel lighting is operated by an intelligent control system that adapts the light level, or luminance, automatically. Special devices, called luminance photometers, measure the amount of light at the entrance points of each snowshed, as would be observed by drivers (each snowshed has photometers for each direction, so there are six photometers in total).

Based on these measurements, the system will determine the required dimming level and will communicate this to each luminaire controller to dim the luminaire as required, helping to reduce the “black hole effect” at the tunnel entrance.

Sample images of what the photometers are observing
Sample images of what the photometers are observing

Did you know?

When the Rogers Pass snowsheds were originally designed and built in the early 1960s, they had no internal lighting at all. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 2000s, that the tunnels were retrofitted with a then state of the art halogen lighting system.

Have any questions about this, or any other work we do at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure? Let us know in the comments below.

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Page 1 of 12 comments on “Artificial Intelligence Has Arrived in Rogers Pass Snowsheds”

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  1. so…what about the Roger’s Pass east tunnel set? I assume they were also designed to be controlled from Ontario also. The other nite that they were all off. Was that due to forest fires(no where near the tunnels) Is there a Sub-set of all those lights that will activate for a period of time, during a main-power outage(APU)? Did anyone consult with Commercial Vehicle Operators before completing the design/functionality aspect of these “Smart” Lighting Systems? The designers/installers should have been encouraged to get Eye-strain, then exposed to an equivalent level/direction/reflection/duration of those “Tanning-bed” lites.

    • Hi there Mo Mo.

      Thanks for your comment. The tunnels in Rogers Pass are under the jurisdiction of the federal government (Parks Canada), but we will share your comment with our staff in the area as well.

  2. Ya expensive and to damn bright at night, and they have not worked right since new and they can’t be controlled from bc. Only in Ontario. Which is dumb and they have been waiting on replacement parts. Not so smart lighting

  3. The lighting in the snowsheds in the middle of the night is way too bright. I do not have sensitive eyes and I have no problem with bright lights in general but those snowsheds are like driving through the sun. The strain on the eyes is brutal.

  4. I’ve driven the pass for the past 30 years. I’ve never had issues with the snow sheds until this system was installed. It’s like staring straight at the sun. Where the sun is high above and not in your eyes, the multitude of crazy powerful lights are blazing directly in your eyes in the sheds. What a waste of money!

    • Thanks for your message Shaun – we’ve sent your concern to the project manager for review. We will let you know what we hear back.

      • Hello again Shaun – our apologies in the delay in this response. Lighting levels are set by our engineers to meet a specific standard and are adjusted by the system as required to meet the proper ambient lighting levels. We’ve recently made some lighting changes (in the past couple weeks) on the 3 tunnels (Jack MacDonald, Twin Slides and Lanark) and are still working through some other issues on this project. All updates should be completed by mid summer 2020.

    • I so agree with you!! I’ve also driven these roads for at least 30 years. These new lights are dangerous. Way to bright and way too many of them. I usually come through at night. I actually have my sunglasses handy now! They can be blinding to the point you need to seriously slow down for fear of hitting the Center partition! Totally agree, waste of money!