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How Can New Traffic Flow Insights Improve Decision-Making in Cities?

Making good decisions about urban traffic relies on actual data about roads, intersections, and bike paths throughout the city. When you think about traffic counting, what comes to your mind? Probably traffic counting students, who manually count cars while standing on the side of the road. Although this practice is well-known, decisions based on this information are not holistic and sustainable since urban traffic is complex. For instance, it’s nearly impossible to manually track directions of vehicles on intersections. Wouldn’t it be great to have such information?

Now, you can implement a new generation of sensors with the Swarm Perception Box to collect reliable traffic data, not only about a few key intersections but about the whole city! Of course, it is also possible to upgrade your existing traffic cameras super easily. The Swarm Perception Box makes it possible to collect traffic data in real-time, 365 days a year, to recognize traffic patterns and trends accurately. For instance, vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes can be counted and tracked simultaneously across intersections, sidewalks, and bike paths. Also, the directions of road users can be recognized by using defined entry-exit zones.

An Example

Let’s take a real-life example to show how these new traffic insights can help at intersections. A typical intersection has four entries and exits. The goal here is to identify the most frequent directions or patterns of usage, which could be a high traffic volume from street C to street A in the morning and high traffic volume from street A to street C in the evening. Around noon you have a peak of pedestrians walking from B to D and then back again.

These gained insights can be used to make traffic flows in cities more efficient and smooth while reducing noise and air pollution. Further examples of using the data are:

  • Identifying road usage patterns and frequently used directions throughout the day
  • Adjusting traffic light systems to typical road usage
  • Taking it as a reliable source for urban planning
  • Comparing traffic volumes of different roads and intersections
  • Comparing and monitoring road usage over time

In the Swarm Control Center, the devices can be managed centrally and configured in minutes. With a few clicks, you can define what data is collected by creating new entry-exit-zones (as shown in the picture above: Street A, Street B, etc. ). This ensures that the gathered data meets your needs and expectations, enabling you to gain insights, analyze, and compare traffic.

Benefits at a Glance

  • Easy configuration of entry-exit-zones in the Swarm Control Center
  • Gathering of data on entry-exit-zones, taking into account multiple areas (Street A, B, C, D, etc. )
  • 24/7 real-time data on traffic flow
  • Possibility to improve traffic flow and create efficiencies based on the data
  • Possibility to reduce air pollution and waiting times

For more information, visit our urban traffic solution page.

Innsbruck, AustriaHow Can New Traffic Flow Insights Improve Decision-Making in Cities?
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Using Regions of Interest to Get Insights About ‘People Crowding’

It is easy to make assumptions, but it is hard to make good decisions!

Crowds and people flow are critical topics in urban environments, especially with Covid-19, when social interactions should be limited and busy places avoided. However, when monitoring busy areas, reliable data is key in order to make good decisions.

The Swarm Perception Box can be used to easily and affordably count and monitor the movement of people, groups, and crowds in streets, squares, shops, and public transport. This empowers you to really understand the local situation, trigger real-time alerts, and take safety measures if needed.

Examples: Setting Regions of Interest for crowd monitoring in public spaces

Hardware Installation

The Swarm Perception Box is installed together with a (new or existing) conventional IP camera at the location you wish to monitor (e.g. shop, park, or junction).

Drawing Regions of Interest (ROI)

Next, the Swarm Perception Box is easy to configure via the Swarm Control Center. You can create, adjust, name, and save your ROI within minutes. This central management platform makes it easy and fast to obtain the people crowding data you need.

Configuration of a ROI in the Swarm Control Center

Example: real-time data and insights

Maintaining the Privacy of Individuals

Although data is generated by analysing video camera streams, the privacy of individuals is fully protected. This is ensured through an innovative approach which “translates” video streams directly into real-time anonymous data. No pictures or videos are saved, but data (consisting of numbers and words) are sent directly to the respective operator. Therefore, it is 100 % GDPR-compliant.

danielUsing Regions of Interest to Get Insights About ‘People Crowding’
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Using Traffic Insights to Master Smart City Challenges

What city does not have to deal with traffic jams, bottlenecks, or parking? These days probably very few. Therefore, all people who are living in, working in, or visiting cities have to deal with waiting times, air pollution, and frustration. So the question is, what could cities do to become more efficient and react to road usage demand?

Of course, it is not easy for cities to control how many commuters or tourists use their streets every day. Nevertheless, cities must find ways to deal with significant traffic issues. The key is reliable data for the actual traffic situation and usage patterns of streets, paths, and intersections. These insights can be used to create effective plans and respond to traffic issues.

Traffic jam in the city

Swarm Analytics enables cities to get those reliable traffic insights by providing a device for upgrading existing traffic cameras with AI technology. With the Swarm Perception Box, cars, trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and busses counted and tracked in real-time. Even the directions vehicles take at intersections are recognized (e.g. zone a to b or zone b to a). With access to these granular traffic insights, more efficiencies can be created in cities. At the same time, we ensure 100 % GDPR compliance as no picture leaves the camera.

Dashboard Examples

So, how can the gathered data be put into use? Here is a real-world example of traffic insights displayed in a traffic insights dashboard. The different graphs provide an overview of the current traffic volume, capacity status and road usage, as well as historic numbers. It is even possible to gain detailed insights into the types of road users like cars, trucks, busses, motorcyclists, cyclists, and people.

Putting the Data to Use

Of course, traffic data can vary widely depending on the city, intersection or road. Here are some general recommendations for how you could use the traffic data:

  • Analyze traffic volumes, peak times and types of road users
  • Compare data of different intersections or roads
  • Adjust traffic light control
  • Forecast traffic volumes
  • Use the data as a basis for urban planning
  • And generally, streamline operations based on historical and real-time data

For more information, visit our urban traffic solution page.

Innsbruck, AustriaUsing Traffic Insights to Master Smart City Challenges