Smart cameras and AI boost bike commuting in Noord-Holland


AI-powered camera-sensors and Intelligent Video Analytics Technology help Noord-Holland (NL) towards cleaner, smarter, and safer bicycle travel

Mobility is essential for a vital society. As manager of roads and a public transportation concessionaire, Dutch province of Noord-Holland is in charge of road safety, regional transportation, and accurate travel information. The Smart Mobility Implementation Plan was put out by the Provincial Executive to improve mobility by using new technologies. In this use case, we take you through the problem definition, our approach, and the results of ViNotion’s contribution to this test project for the Province of Noord-Holland in the context of bicycle welfare and safety.

Connectivity options such as built-in Wi-Fi or mobile phone apps allow an increasing number of road users to communicate with one another. Traffic lights, bridges, and traffic control centers could all communicate with one another. Intelligent Traffic Light Control (ITLC) is vital to modern road management. ITLCs send information back and forth between the traffic and traffic lights. Smart camera sensors and technology that uses Artificial Intelligence  to analyze video can give very accurate and useful information about traffic (such as the type, distance, and speed). This is in contrast to traditional loops or push buttons, which have a hard time telling the difference between a single cyclist or pedestrian and a group of them. If we had full situational awareness and detailed information about the presence and behavior of cyclists and other road users at intersections, we could control and prioritize traffic flows in a way that is safe and efficient. With ViSense® AI Video Analytics and smart camera technology, ITLCs can recognize, forecast, and prioritize any traffic. Individual riders and cycling groups can be differentiated, and specific road users can be addressed and prioritized

Bron: Eindrapportage Uitvoeringsprogramma Smart Mobility 2018-2021 (05 juli 2022)

Noord-Holland did not have reliable and versatile real-time cycling statistics, which led to inconvenient routing, undesirable cycling experiences and traffic accidents.

Conventional traffic control loops and pushbuttons sometimes miss bicyclists. This caused unnecessary interruptions and excessive waits at traffic lights in Noord-Holland. Too-short crossing times for bicycles fostered risky behavior and led to dangerous situations. In ViNotion, the province found a committed partner with a highly skilled, experienced team of experts and sophisticated technology, ready to respond quickly and deliver a solution that fits the Smart Mobility Implementation Program’s vision. They hired ViNotion to explore large-scale intelligent traffic control employing advanced video interpretation for live and retrospective analysis. The main question was: could ViNotion’s Intelligent Video Analytics technology help the Province of Noord-Holland create a safe, fast, and convenient cycling experience?

Living Labs across the province

Pilots and tests for the Smart Mobility Program were mostly done on provincial roads within the province. This led to the creation of several so-called Smart Mobility test sites, where things like communication between traffic and infrastructure, the provincial traffic control center, and smart traffic lights were tested in the real world. There were pilots for every mode of traffic: bicycles, cars, freight, public transportation, and shipping.

Improve the traffic light control system with smart camera sensors and AI video analytics.

ViNotion integrated Video AI technology with the pre-existing Traffic Light Control system to gain in-depth, accurate, real-time, and historical cycling data. We installed camera sensors with AI visual detection and analysis. This provided complete situational awareness and historical and real-time insights for dynamic, data-driven traffic light regulation.

The result is a more appealing travel experience for cyclists, free of annoying interruptions and long waits at traffic lights, and increased safety for cyclists owing to dynamic and intelligently managed intervals.

These are the steps that got us there:

Results of the smart mobility test project

The test compared 3 data sources: cameras, cycling apps, and connected bicycles. As a result of our approach, ViNotion, commissioned by the Province of Noord-Holland, demonstrated that:

  • Timely bicycle detection and accurate localization for dynamic traffic handling are achievable.
  • A guaranteed real-time link between Intelligent Traffic Control systems and the UDAP platform is feasible.
  • Data provided by ViSense® is reliable, most versatile, and of the highest accuracy.
  • Compared to the other data sources, ViSense® is the only source that captures all bicycles and has the most trustworthy GPS localization.

The impact of Smart Mobility applications on provincial mobility challenges

The test fits within the Smart Mobility Implementation Program’s pillars and contributes to a number of provincial responsibilities. It brings new information and knowledge that is shared with other authorities, knowledge institutions, and private parties on a regional, national, and European scale. The conclusions below provide some examples of the consequences for livability, safety, and accessibility.

Conclusions: Impact on traffic flow, traffic safety, and livability

The contributions of smart mobility to greater livability are promising. It is technologically feasible to prioritize (groups of) bicycles at traffic lights to increase the cycling experience and encourage bicycle use. For this purpose, we would need to equip traffic light control systems with intelligence (ITLC). ITLCs make traffic flow more smoothly and cut down on the number of times people must stop at traffic lights. This not only enhances accessibility, but it also stimulates environmentally friendly transportation.

In Noord-Holland, 16 of the 52 planned ITLCs were installed by 2019. By 2025, the province’s 253 traffic light control systems are projected to be intelligent. Paying attention to healthy mobility innovations and promoting efficient use of energy and space contribute greatly to livability.

Prioritizing bicycles

Being unable to traverse junctions swiftly and easily frustrates cyclists. Intelligent Video Analytics helps Intelligent Traffic Control systems detect bicyclists and groups of cyclists. With this information, we can grant cyclists precedence at traffic lights to encourage cycling.

Applications modality Bicycle

  • Prioritization of groups of cyclists at ITLCs
  • Priority on cycling through routes
  • Bicycle detection for caution warnings
  • Safety analyses in relation to vehicle automation

The test showed how useful ViNotion’s device-independent sensors and sophisticated video analytics are to improving Intelligent Traffic Light Control.

The results of the tests and the benchmarks were acknowledged positively. The test found that the low-speed heading needed to be rectified and that a stable connection with UDAP was required. With that, a trigger signaling disruption of connectivity is added. With these two changes, ViNotion now ensures continuity and advocates permanent deployment.

Do you have any information gaps on traffic at intersections? Want to improve the flow of traffic and safety at crossing points? Need to cut down on noise and emissions from traffic?

Get in touch; we’ll talk about your mission and your situation—and explore whether our expertise and technology can help you.

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