A trial using state of the art traffic sensors is being carried out by Kent County Council and its partners at Amey to monitor traffic patterns to help make future transport decisions for the county.
Across the county, 32 sensors have been placed which are able to classify what is using the highway, for instance pedestrians, cars, buses, bicycles, and count those users and record their speeds.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Michael Payne, said: “We have been working on several trials as part of the Live Labs programme which tests the very latest technology to see how it can help us save money, find and fix problems quicker, and make stronger evidence-based decisions about our road network.
“We’ve already piloted drones to spot highway defects, fitted cameras to buses and highways vehicles to provide road condition data and we’re now running this trial with Vivacity.
“When compared to traditional data collection, such as loops in the road, these sensors are considerably more efficient and accurate in analysing pedestrian and bicycle usage, giving us data on the interactions between pedestrians, cyclists and road traffic.
“We’ll be able to use this anonymised data to get a real feel of how people are getting around the county and any issues that could be addressed by us as the highways authority and these sensors will be providing us with considerably more evidence to help that decision-making.”
Sunita Dulai, Account Director for Transport Infrastructure at Amey, said: “Working in collaboration with Kent County Council and Vivacity it is our goal to provide the tools to help improve transport systems. The use of these sensors will help the local authority to make decisions that will improve road user safety, ease congestion and identify areas for transport infrastructure improvements.”
Giles Perkins, ADEPT Live Labs Programme Director said: “By taking a scaled approach to the deployment of digital sensors, local roads managers can deliver much improved outcomes for their networks. Live Labs is helping prove that new technologies can manage our essential assets in a more cost effective and informed way, keeping people, goods and supplies moving across our roads”
The sites are:
- Multiple sites around Tonbridge and Faversham – to monitor compliance with the new 20mph speed limit that has been installed and to understand whether additional measures need to be put in place or whether it has been a success
- Ingress Park Avenue, Tiltman Avenue, and Greenhithe train station – to understand the use of buses, taxis, cars, bicycles and trains and to gauge the uptake of the Fastrack bus service running between Greenhithe station and Bluewater.
- Running Horse Roundabout, Aylesford – to monitor near miss and collision analysis to drive safety improvements
- Dover Town Centre – to monitor pedestrian, cycle, car, motorcycle, HGV and bus movements in and around the town of Dover, including the impacts of Brexit on port-related traffic. The cameras will help to understand usage and potential improvements that can be made to the experience of those choosing to travel actively. We intend that the data gathered will help us to monitor and deliver schemes that will ultimately help to reduce congestion, support economic growth and improve the accessibility and experience for residents and visitors travelling within the town
- Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Hythe – will be looking at how the cycle lanes are used.
Vivacity Labs co-founder Mark Nicholson said: “Our sensors are able to anonymously monitor journey times, vehicle paths and counts of pedestrians to cyclists, cars to HGVs, and everything in-between. Crucially, they don’t record or stream footage and are fully GDPR-compliant.
“Our sensors are able to use the image data and run an analysis on the imagery, extracting the journey times, journey paths and classified counts, with the video imagery deleted within one second of capture.
“Very rarely, about 0.1% of the time, an image will be captured and sent to the server, but not before face blurring and number plate blurring has been applied to the image.
“Local governments are tasked with improving our transport systems, targeting billions of pounds of spend to ease congestion, improve safety, and keep up with the rapid evolution of technology. Our goal has been to provide the tools to help improve this system.”
The trial, which is part of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) SMART Places Live Labs programme, will look at how effective the technology can be for highway inspections with the project potentially proving the case for it to be used more widely in the future.
The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme is a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, 02, Ringway and WSP.
Nine local authorities are working on projects to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways, maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.
This included the development of ‘autonomous vehicles’ focusing on innovation, collaboration and agility.
Kent County Council in collaboration with Amey submitted a bid to run one of the Live Labs and was successful in being granted £1.975m for a two-year project.
About Vivacity Labs
At Vivacity, our vision is to make cities smarter, safer and more sustainable. Our artificial intelligence sensors and Smart Junctions signal control gather detailed and anonymous data 24/7 on transport modes, traffic flow and travel patterns, supporting strategic decisions to help optimise the transport network and improve urban infrastructure.
We believe that all personal data should be protected, and our sensors have been developed using privacy-by design principles to ensure that personal data is never compromised. For more information please visit www.vivacitylabs.com