How ViNotion's AI Video Analytics and smart camera sensors helped s-Hertogenbosch (NL) deal with growing traffic volume, congestion, and health and safety concerns with reliable real-time insights and digital twin simulations.
s-Hertogenbosch (NL) faces several urban challenges. One is public safety; urbanization is increasing the number of people in the city. According to allecijfers.nl, the population increase in s-Hertogenbosch was 25% since 1996. This figure is expected to rise even more in the coming years. Keeping track of inner-city movements is becoming increasingly difficult with more diverse modes of traffic and transportation.
Another issue is accessibility. As s-Hertogenbosch grows in popularity, keeping its city center accessible has become an increasingly difficult challenge. Crowding, traffic jams, a shortage of parking spaces, and accessibility concerns are all having an economic impact on commercial districts such as retail malls. Having versatile real-time data on crowd movement, density, and individual behavior in crowds would allow city authorities to perform intelligent and dynamic space management, security monitoring, and businesses to improve supply, staffing, and event planning.
In the city center, s-Hertogenbosch lacked cross-domain insights into traffic and crowds.
s-Hertogenbosch lacked full situational awareness of the movements of some modes of traffic, such as bicycles and crowds in the city center. Because they didn’t have highly accurate and versatile data for insights, they could not keep up with growing traffic volumes and crowding. For example, they could not always explain the causes of congestion and thus could not alleviate it through traffic and crowd rerouting. They also didn’t know enough about how crowds and traffic moved in the past and present to improve policies or predict what would happen in the future. As a result, they had to act from experience and on unsubstantiated intuitions.
They recruited ViNotion to help them gain insights and, more significantly, total situational awareness of inner-city traffic and crowd dynamics. One of their goals was to improve coordination between different domains so that they could get the benefits of scale in terms of efficiency, cost savings, and optimization. This would require consistent and timely data exchange. As s-Hertogenbosch required a holistic perspective, they intended to link several sensors that would provide information on, among other things, public transit flows, urban traffic flows, weather conditions, road conditions, VCA data, and predictions.
The all-encompassing solution resulted from strong cooperation between the IT supplier, who provided system integration and installation; the provider of the digital twin platform; and ViNotion. ViNotion provided solutions for intelligent detection, classification, and analysis of any traffic modality (type, speed, movement, lane, classification), crowds, and individuals in crowds, as well as data transmission throughout the system via API integration. The city required the following insights:
- Comprehensive historical data for future analysis and long-term policy changes
- Real-time data for immediate action (interventions and implementation) and congestion forecasting.
- Predictive data (using digital twin and ViNotion data) to see, for example, visitor flow graphs and trends.
With video AI algorithms and smart camera sensors, in 3 stages towards total situational awareness and detailed crowd insights.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) showed the scope surpassed our internal capabilities. To give s-Hertogenbosch a complete, cross-domain solution, we put together a partner team for installation and logistics, data supply and integration, and platform/dashboard visualization. ViNotion started with a site and technical analysis. The project included 3 stages:
Stage 1: Prove value, with 5 sensors in the city center
Stage 2: Scale up to 10 to demonstrate the robustness and get a more comprehensive picture of downtown.
Stage 3: Once the solution was proven, we scaled up to 20 live systems.
This 3-stage strategy reduces upfront investments and risks. Based on what we learned in stage 1, we worked with s-Hertogenbosch to fine-tune the final custom solution.
Situational analysis and sensor planning
First, we did a detailed site evaluation with the city of s-Hertogenbosch and their IT provider. The city of s-Hertogenbosch highlighted sites where they needed in-depth insights into traffic or crowds, taking crowding and travel routes into consideration. The IT company that was hired to put up new cameras in s-Hertogenbosch checked the areas for power and connectivity, installation/permit rules (for public or private property), and possible camera positions. ViNotion led the technical evaluation. We looked at restricted zones (for safety), camera sight lines, and the cameras’ ability to tell the difference between different types of traffic based on their visibility from the camera viewpoint. Due to varying installation requirements, every camera position was carefully discussed between s-Hertogenbosch and ViNotion. This led to set-ups where all traffic modes are detected over the biggest area feasible, but sometimes also to set-ups with restricted area coverage to optimize accuracy (for example, at public transport locations). It gave s-Hertogenbosch the best possible solution within the limits set out up front and the ones we had found during our assessment. The commissioning parties were confident that risks were minimized, and outcomes were maximized by incorporating all stakeholders (including the city) in the process. We were now ready for installation and implementation.
In s-Hertogenbosch, city and traffic authorities now share integrated insight for control. They leverage real-time data and smart insights to address crowd and mobility issues. Cross-domain cooperation is boosted by intelligent monitoring and analysis. Lessons and experiences are shared and analyzed, and real-time and historical data as well as smart predictions are used to help make decisions.
The impact on public safety, traffic, and crowd control in s-Hertogenbosch
ViNotion’s all-around, hands-on practice, recommendations, and step-by-step approach gave our contractors confidence, proof in practice, and a worry-free experience. Together with the partners, s-Hertogenbosch now has a real-time in-depth understanding and overview of complex traffic and crowd situations in the city center. Fragmented sets of data are a thing of the past.
This highly accurate and dynamic overview is now making it easier for people from different domains to work together. Authorities in s-Hertogenbosch now propose adjustments to plans and policies based on real-time and historical data and have complete situational awareness. Today, s-Hertogenbosch is more accessible, urban traffic is properly controlled, and the environmental perception is improving. Businesses in the center of s-Hertogenbosch now have access to useful information, like information about visitor numbers and movements, that they didn’t have before.
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