Smart cameras that can track pedestrians’, motorists’ and cyclists’ movements are being installed in Australia, and will allow traffic patterns to be stopped and allowed automatically.
The technology is part of a research program at Melbourne University, called Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES), and is being used to study and to adjust traffic patterns that have changed because of Covid19.
”The number of people moving around our city streets is significantly lower compared with the previous three weeks,” said Melbourne Mayor Sally Capp.
“This indicates people are doing the right thing and staying at home where possible, but we know this is going to have a major impact on local CBD businesses.”
Chris Bax, vice-president of ITS global strategy at Cubic Transportation Systems, said Covid19 has changed travel patterns on a wide scale and it is necessary to learn and monitor how these traffic patterns are changing.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in cycling around the world,” Bax said. “We’ve also seen more people shy away from public transport and move back into their cars, which will increase congestion and put cyclists and pedestrians at risk.”
“Giving public transport priority at intersections to help them run on time … is an important thing to getting people’s confidence up in using public transport.”
The cameras are capable of detecting traffic patterns and will have the capacity to make real-time decisions to control traffic flow, giving school children or slower-walking elderly pedestrians the right of way, for example. The cameras also give priority to public transportation services.
“It’s like a human sitting at an intersection watching what happens,” said Professor Majid Sarvi, chair of transport engineering at Melbourne University. “At the moment, we don’t have any eyes on what’s going on. Now, we have eyes and intelligence – it’s a powerful combination,” he added.