All around the world, more people are moving to live in city centres. According to data from the United Nations, some 55% of the global population already lives in urban locations, and by 2050, this is expected to increase to 68% .
Undoubtedly, this mass migration will put significant new pressure on city infrastructures that are already constrained. Governments must therefore start thinking of creative ways to make efficient use of available space, from innovative ideas for accommodation, to smart transport networks that enable large populations to move freely at all times.
When it comes to urban road networks specifically, government authorities in some of the world’s busiest cities already know that traditional traffic management is not enough. One vehicle accident or heavy traffic due to a local event has the potential to cause gridlock, which can impact the city transport network for hours. So to prevent congestion and keep vehicles moving freely, more forward-thinking city authorities are turning to cutting-edge intelligent traffic systems (ITS).
Helping vehicles flow through an ancient Chinese city
Hikvision technology is at the heart of a new traffic management system in the ancient Chinese city of Xi'an. In this entirely walled city, vehicles can only enter and exit through the historic city gates. But with some three million vehicles in the network and counting, the limited number of entrances was starting to cause serious congestion.
To address this, Xi’an Urban Traffic Administration worked with Hikvision, as well as urban planning experts, Internet service providers and other technology companies to design and implement a powerful traffic monitoring system. Built on Hikvision’s video cameras, the solution combines road traffic violation monitoring, an integrated command and dispatching platform, and intelligent signal control to optimise traffic movement in the city.
Since the system went live, intelligent signal control alone has increased the throughput of traffic by 10%, while the average vehicle journey time is reduced by about 12%. What’s more, drivers are becoming more compliant to the rules of the road.
The technical solution
The intelligent traffic management system analyses comprehensive and detailed data about the movement of traffic through the urban Xi’an area, and uses the insight gathered to make the flow of traffic more smooth in three key ways.
1. Comprehensive road traffic violation monitoring. Xi'an traffic police have installed Hikvision’s Checkpoint Capture Cameras and Intersection Violation Capture Units as part of a monitoring system that can detect illegal vehicle behaviour at intersections.
These full view ultra-high zoom cameras record vehicles making illegal manoeuvres – such as running red lights, making banned turns and illegal lane changes – in real time.
2. Visual integrated command and dispatching platform. Using real-time video streams from Hikvision Traffic Flow Capture Cameras, a number of road condition perception technologies, plus intelligent mobile applications, Xi'an traffic police created a visual command and control centre, coupled with an intelligent police dispatch system.
All data is aggregated and dynamically displayed on a large screen in the command and control centre. In the event of a traffic incident, the system generates dispatch recommendations intelligently, according to the location and distribution of traffic police officers throughout the city. Those closest to an incident receive an automated message to their mobile terminals, enabling them to arrive at the scene quickly.
More importantly, the intelligent traffic management system uses advanced machine learning capabilities to gain insight into typical congestion patterns, in order to actively identify potential traffic events before they happen. By analysing large volumes of road condition data and information from Hikvision’s intelligent video cameras, the system can predict which intersections are most prone to congestion and when, enabling traffic police to put evasive measures in place before serious issues arise.
3. Improved vehicle flow capacity with intelligent signal control. The Xi’an traffic management team also employs congestion management practices to ease the flow of traffic, largely through the optimisation of signal timing. Using Hikvision intelligent video cameras coupled with augmented reality (AR) technology, the intelligent traffic management system analyses traffic flow data and dynamically alters the timing of signal lights accordingly. It will monitor traffic flow, queue length and average driving speed in all directions of intersections in real time, automatically adjusting signal timing to optimise the flow of vehicles.
 Source: 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects, https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html
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