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Video Surveillance is Transforming Urban Transportation

March 06, 2016

As cities are becoming more densely populated, transportation is becoming increasingly difficult. New systems and technologies are needed to efficiently move large volumes of people from place to place.

One technology that is making a big difference in smart cities is video surveillance. IP enabled cameras are now helping to make transportation easier, safer and more enjoyable in smart cities.

Here are some of the ways that video surveillance is helping to improve transportation:

Traffic management: By 2020, Americans will waste a combined 8.3 billion hours per year stuck in traffic. And congestion will cost commuters $192 billion. The fact is that most roads were not built to handle such large volumes of traffic. Video surveillance is helping improve traffic management, though. IP enabled cameras capture and report real-time road conditions (like weather-related issues, accidents and traffic jams). Traffic data can also be compiled and analyzed over time to create more efficient systems.

Accident prevention: The days of manually checking blind spots while driving may be coming to an end, thanks to the advent of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Many new cars, for instance, now come equipped with onboard cameras and sensors, so that drivers can be alerted when other vehicles or pedestrians are lurking nearby. Some cars even come with anti-drowsiness sensors. Ford, for instance, offers the Driver Alert system in certain cars that senses when a vehicle is swerving. Mercedes also has Attention Assist, which records driver movements and understands behavior patterns for drivers. ADAS systems (vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to device and vehicle to grid) can transmit road and traffic information for adaptive cruise control, and provide surveillance for improved on-road accuracy. Automakers are continuously improving ADAS systems, and they will eventually enable fully-automated, self-driving vehicles.

On-Time Services: Public transportation and ride sharing services are becoming increasingly popular. And city transportation departments are now using surveillance systems to analyze passenger loads for shared services like taxis, bicycles, busses and trains. Using data gleaned from video and GPS systems, planners are able to strategically adjust where and when services are needed to increase productivity. For example, video can help identify certain bus routes that are over or under-served. If large numbers are people are consistently waiting at a certain bus stop, action can be taken to provide more pickups.

Accountability: Video is essential for providing unbiased accounts of public behavior. Cloud-based dash cams, for instance, are being used to monitor cars when they are parked. They are also being used to transmit video footage to insurance companies following accidents. Further, insurance companies are using dash cams to collect data and learn about driver behavior, while transit departments are using cameras to monitor public areas like bus stops and crosswalks for public safety purposes. What’s more, road signs and traffic lights are being equipped with cameras that capture when drivers run through red lights or speed. These systems help encourage safe driving habits, and reduce accidents.