Smart transport coordination is priority for region’s economic growth
At a time of unprecedented investment and population growth in the UK’s West Midlands region, and with preparations being finalised for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, transport coordination has been identified as a priority – for safety, critical infrastructure resilience, and economic growth. Congestion is known to be a significant inhibitor to economic growth, and a major cost for businesses and public service providers, and individuals.
To drive improvement, £2.65m central government funding was awarded to Transport for West Midlands, part of the West Midlands Combined Authority. The investment was to be targeted at enabling detailed analysis of traffic flows with the aim of improving of journey times. With the initiative branded “Keep West Midlands Moving” now the best technology was needed to deliver on that promise.
Solution needed to meet challenging road conditions and strict budgets
Systems integrator Total Integrated Solutions was asked to deliver an ANPR-based real time traffic monitoring solution that would be capable of operating reliably with high traffic volumes, day and night, in the most challenging weather conditions, including rain, fog and direct sunlight. It also needed to be durable, and offer best lifecycle value (TCO) with ease of installation and maintenance. ANPR from 4Sight Imaging, an IDIS Technology partner proved to the be the best solution.
Technology from IDIS and 4Sight outperforms conventional ANPR – on cost and capability
The innovative ANPR solution from IDIS and 4Sight combines high performance, specialist IDIS 3MP cameras with advanced image analysis software from 4Sight Imaging – a combination that has been demonstrated to be ten times more accurate than conventional solutions in independent comparative testing. The superior WDR light handling performance of the IDIS cameras is optimised by the 4Sight software, making it ideal for vehicle numberplate capture.
A network of 200 cameras, installed across 11 key routes, delivers traffic flow analysis covering Birmingham, Solihull, Walsall, Sandwell and part of Warwickshire. The ANPR is powered by self-configuring, adaptive appearance modelling which results in high accuracy and reliability, and means each camera is capable of covering up to four lanes of bi-directional traffic with no lane overlap.
IDIS open architecture ensures seamless compatibility with customer computing infrastructure - the system is monitored from a central control facility in Birmingham - while forward compatibility with ongoing IDIS camera developments gives the assurance of future-proofing and system scalability.
Results and Benefits
High accuracy traffic monitoring across busy road network, with low TCO costs
With more than half of the network fully operational, around 3 million data points are already being generated daily, allowing real-time analysis of traffic flows, resulting is faster response to emergencies, obstructions and congestion build-up.
The customer benefited from simple deployment, improved user experience, and measurable savings. The solution allowed existing street furniture to be used, making installation faster and less costly, and IDIS’s patented plugand-play technology not only minimised installation work but will also reduce any ongoing maintenance burden. The use of high performance 3MP cameras resulted in further cost savings compared with 4MP alternative solutions.
Now, with abnormal traffic conditions highlighted quickly, authorities can intervene to re-establish free movement and prevent problems from escalating. This increases road capacity and reduces the pollution and waste that is made worse by inefficient traffic flows.
Traditional solutions, such as ground loops and radar, would have been unable to provide this degree of situational awareness.
"Following evaluation of three vendors, the solution was chosen for a number of reasons. The ability to use a single camera to cover up to four lanes of bi-directional traffic and still maintain accurate reading was important to us as it allows us to utilise existing street furniture, simplifies maintenance and reduces cost."
Head of Safety, Security and Emergency Planning, Transport for West Midlands