Traffic congestion costs cities millions a year in lost productivity, as well as frustrating road users and negatively impacting air quality. To tackle these issues, and to keep traffic flowing, forward-looking cities around the world are deploying innovative smart video solutions, says Juan Sádaba, ITS Business Development Manager at Hikvision Spain.
In 2021, London's road users lost an average of 148 hours in traffic jams, closely followed by Parisians with 140 hours lost. With Brussels, Moscow, and New York following closely in the congestion rankings , the challenge of lost productivity due to traffic congestion is clear.
Equally importantly, congestion and stop-start traffic also significantly increase vehicle emissions in cities, negatively impacting air quality targets and broader climate goals.
To overcome these pressing challenges, city authorities around the world are looking to encourage the adoption of faster, greener transport modes – including electric vehicles (EVs) and public transport. However, these kinds of initiatives take time, and traffic management needs to be improved immediately to deliver congestion and emissions quick wins.
When it comes to addressing congestion challenges in cities, smart video is a major asset. This is because it provides real-time traffic awareness and supports faster, more effective responses to the build-up of vehicles at junctions and on busy routes.
Specifically, smart video can help city authorities to address their congestion challenges in several key ways.
1. Identify and ease traffic bottlenecks
Smart video solutions can show authorities when traffic builds up at specific junctions and generate automatic alerts for traffic management teams. This allows city authorities to take a range of measures to keep traffic flowing, such as adjusting traffic light timings, introducing congestion charging schemes, or working with satellite navigation partners to reroute traffic. This all helps to increase the average speed of vehicles, reduce stop-and-start traffic, and lower emissions.
2. Control vehicle access to restricted areas
With smart video, authorities can restrict access to specific areas of the city for certain types of vehicle, such as those that are older or more polluting. This is possible based on license-plate recognition (ANPR) technology, which cross references vehicle number plates with traffic authority databases to determine their eligibility to enter restricted zones.
With ANPR technology, cities can create effective congestion charging schemes that reduce overall traffic demand, without penalizing drivers of green vehicles, such as electric vehicles. Additionally, vehicles belonging to residents of restricted traffic areas can also be exempted from charges.
3. Respond faster to traffic incidents that block traffic
In urban environments, traffic accidents, vehicle breakdowns and other incidents can cause delays of several hours on busy corridors. Smart video helps to address this challenge by detecting incidents in real time and sending alerts to blue light teams. This means that incidents can be cleared faster, reducing delays and ensuring that traffic jams are minimized.
To help cities address their congestion challenges, Hikvision has created the innovative ITS solutions portfolio. This includes AI-enabled cameras for ANPR, vehicle counting, and incident detection, which give authorities a real-time view of traffic conditions across their networks. With automated alerts for traffic build-up and other incidents, authorities can react faster and implement measures to ease traffic flow, reduce congestion, and lower emissions related to 'start-stop' traffic.
To find out more about Hikvision ITS solutions and how they can help your authority to reduce traffic congestion to speed up journey times and improve road-user experiences, please visit the website. Alternatively, feel free to contact us for a consultation on how our technologies can help you meet your congestion-reduction targets.
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