How traffic sensors and cameras are transforming city streets

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Authorities in South East England are working with a subsidiary of the infrastructure giant Rail to test sensors that will monitor and analyze traffic, further showing how the technology is being used as a tool to inform decisions on the functioning of the cities in which we live. .

In a statement late last week, Kent County Council explained its trial with Amey centered on installing 32 sensors that can identify who or what is using the road.

The technology, from a company called Vivacity Labs, can distinguish between cars, bikes, buses, and pedestrians while also recording their speeds and counting the number used.

The sensors will be installed in several locations across the county, including Dover city center, a port and a major transport and logistics hub that connects the UK to the European Union.

There the sensors will be used to ‘monitor the movements of pedestrians, cyclists, cars, motorcycles, heavy goods vehicles and buses in and around the city of Dover, including the impacts of Brexit on traffic linked to the port. “.

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Elsewhere, “several sites” around the towns of Faversham and Tonbridge will use the sensors to verify compliance with a new speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

The Kent trial is part of the two-year ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs program, which has received £ 22.9million ($ 32.2million) funding from the UK Department for Transport.

Regarding the new initiative in Kent, Sunita Dulai, Amey’s account manager for transport infrastructure, said using the sensors “will help local authorities make decisions that will improve the safety of users of the road. road, reduce congestion and identify areas for improvement of transport infrastructure “.

Information processed by the sensors will be anonymized to comply with data protection laws, with Vivacity Labs co-founder Mark Nicholson explaining that video images would be “deleted within one second of capture.”

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“Very rarely, about 0.1% of the time, an image will be captured and sent to the server, but not until face blur and license plate blur have been applied to the image,” Nicholson added. .

The use of innovative technologies related to urban mobility is not unique to Kent.

According to the Japanese government, intelligent transport systems (ITS) “are developing steadily” in the country thanks to the popularization of electronic toll systems and information and communication on vehicles.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) said intelligent transportation systems – which are well established there – have “helped improve traffic flow by providing real-time information, by eliminating congestion at toll terminals and by mitigating environmental problems, impacts by offering differential toll discounts.

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Regarding traffic management, MLIT adds that technologies including sensors, television cameras, vehicle detectors and weather observation devices have been installed to collect accurate information on everything from traffic jams and traffic accidents to stationary vehicles.

In addition to keeping traffic flowing, technology is also used to ensure that drivers obey the law and use their vehicles in a safe manner.

In Australia, the government of New South Wales has deployed cameras that can detect whether people are using their mobile phones while driving.

The system uses stationary and mobile cameras that operate day and night and software that “automatically examines the footage and detects potentially offending drivers.”

Images that show no crime committed are “permanently and irreparably deleted, usually within an hour”.

According to the authorities, a pilot of the project has detected more than 100,000 people using their phones illegally.

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