The urbanization in the world is unstoppable: more and more people live, work and transport themselves in and around cities – with all the challenges that come with that. Per definition, a smart city is an area where people, data and devices are connected to create a better place to live. Together with our partners, Axis delivers scalable, innovative camera and IoT solutions to create a smarter and safer city. One of our partners is Vialis, part of VolkerWessels. A Dutch company that focuses on managing traffic flow – as done for example during the Floriade in Almere – a horticultural exhibition which took place from April to October 2022.
The theme of the Floriade was “Growing Green Cities”. In the 60-hectare Floriade park, visitors could discover green solutions from innovators from around the world that make cities more fun, beautiful and sustainable in terms of greenery, nutrition, health and energy.
An international event like the Floriade also brings challenges in the field of traffic management and livability for the inhabitants and environment. Many people visited the exhibition, especially on the weekends and during the holidays traffic into and out of Almere increased. Therefore, in close operation with the municipality of Almere, Vialis established procedures to ensure good traffic management and road safety while also keeping an eye on air quality and noise pollution.
Data is king – also for traffic management
The most essential way to maintain and manage an efficient traffic flow is to understand the situation with data and statistics. Without information and insights, no tailored measurements can be taken.
During the Floriade, Vialis used environmental sensors, sound sensors, and intelligent Axis network cameras all over the city to collect data into their traffic management software verkeer.nu. This data was then translated into insights and control solutions for an optimal use of infrastructure.
- The tailored solution is a combination of the software and expertise of Vialis, the IoT knowledge of Hyrde and the network-cameras of Axis communications.
Use Case Almere – how deep learning can make a difference
Sensors and Axis cameras were installed at intersections throughout the city to analyze the connection between traffic flow and the environmental impact. The goal was to control the level of pollution with a dynamic traffic management.
Intelligent network cameras from Axis were installed at the intersections to measure and classify traffic. With deep learning capabilities, the Axis cameras can distinguish between different vehicles, such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buses, and can count the number of vehicles. This data was compared with existing data from detection loops (type, speed, number) to investigate even more accurately the impact on the livability in the city. The collected data and analytics are viewed by domain experts using the traffic management platform verkeer.nu.
Thanks to this real-time information, Almere was able to take immediate action by automatically adjust traffic controls. For example, if a pattern of air or noise pollution is visible at a specific time or day, a traffic engineer may decide to redesign the traffic regulations in the future. Or for example, if the air quality sensor shows a spike in pollution at 17 p.m. on Monday, the traffic expert may choose to leave the traffic light green for longer in a certain direction of travel or to direct road users to another route to reduce pollution. Thanks to this interaction on different layers, we can influence the flow in real time.
Combining innovative technologies supports municipalities to improve efficiency within public safety, urban mobility and environmental monitoring. The collected data gives insights and knowledge about what is going on in a city to an extent, which was unimaginable years ago. This knowledge can be used to create a livable city. “It is fascinating how data, collected via cameras and sensors, can significantly help to improve traffic flow, restore air quality and reduce noise – and that quick and efficient”, summarizes Epko van Nisselrooij Key Account Manager - End Customers • Sales – Benelux from Axis Communications.