Transport for London bring innovation to roadwork monitoring

Transport for London have a duty to expedite traffic on their road network – a considerable challenge, considering the unique complexities of London and the volume of traffic using the network every day 

By CCTViNFO | April 03, 2017

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Part of this has involved minimising the disruption caused by roadworks. To address this, TfL introduced the Lane Rental Scheme; with the aim of this scheme being to ensure works promoters acknowledge the value of occupying road space, and work to minimise disruption to road users.

In order to achieve this, penalties were introduced for failing to complete works on time as an incentive for work promoters to maximise their use of the road space and time available. An obstacle in achieving these aims has been the automated monitoring of activity on work sites, to ensure that works promoters were adhering to agreed permitted hours and not exceeding deadlines.

A further challenge was in the implementation of any technology. This needed to be flexible and re-deployable in order to cope with the constantly changing location of works, as well as being capable of understanding extremely active and complex settings. This was all taken into consideration in the development of the Automatic Road Network Monitoring system (ARNM).

In the process of designing the automated activity monitoring scheme, TfL identified video analytics as the core component to the solution. This is because a fundamental part of video analytics technology is translating video into metadata, which can then be used to populate databases. This data can then form the basis for tracking the activity on work sites.

TfL worked with Ipsotek, a Video Analytics specialist, to investigate the possibilities and collaborate on the design of the Automatic Roadwork Monitoring (ARNM) solution. TfL had worked with Ipsotek in the past to deliver a congestion monitoring system for the capital which has assisted in congestion mitigation, and successfully reduced average journey times in the capital.

The advantage delivered by Ipsotek is the flexibility and accuracy of their video analytics software, coupled with their engineering expertise and commitment to the development of custom solutions.

In order to meet the requirement for the re-deployable technology, Ipsotek and TfL used technology from Axis Communications to create the ‘Smart camera’ solution. Included in a single Axis enclosure is a high-end PTZ camera, video analytics card and 4G router. This allows for flexibility in the position of the camera, along with removing the need for a physical network connection. Instead, the Smart Camera only requires local power, with a secure connection over 4G by TfL’s communications supplier providing real time data to TfL servers. TfL integrated this data feed into its existing ‘Lane Rental Management’ system.

Using Ipsotek’s Scenario Based Detection Engine, TfL are able to remotely configure the video analytics software to provide accurate results in a constantly evolving, modern landscape.

click to visit website The data gathered by the Smart Camera allows TfL staff to receive automated alerts if works promoters are working outside permitted times, or if they are not making full use of the agreed works plans.

Daily activity reports are also generated to show the scale and time of work which has taken place.

In the below graphs, the set work plan can be seen compared to the amount of activity tracked on site – the red bars indicate the amount of activity recorded, green represents ‘no activity’ and the blue represents the approved working hours.

click for ENLARGED view... This data is backed up by images from the Smart Camera to ensure TfL have access to the full depth of data, and can provide evidentiary images if required.

The ARMN deployment in 2016 demonstrated an immediate and significant step forward in the optimisation of roadworks, as well as substantial progress being made toward the overriding objective of the solution – which is to motivate behaviour where work promoters acknowledge the value of occupying road space and the economic cost to society of delays.

In short, the successful implementation of the ARNM scheme demonstrates the continued commitment by TfL to invest in innovation.

click for ENLARGED view... TfL understand the needs of the road users in the capital and are doing everything possible to meet their unique challenges by engaging with the latest technology.

In this case, the technology-gap was filled by UK company Ipsotek – unique in the market for their expertise in working with complex and challenging requirements for video intelligence – and Axis Communications, who provided the specialised enclosure and high-end imagery required for the video analytics software, backed up by a long history of being at the forefront of innovation.

Bill Flind, Chief Executive of Ipsotek commented: "We are delighted to have been chosen by TfL to work with them on this very innovative project, and we are proud that together we have achieved a solution that is repeatable and re-deployable, and one that can now be extended across one of the most challenging and complex traffic environments in the world. It is also extremely gratifying to know that Ipsotek’s technology is a key element in a system that can save time and reduce frustration for so many people living and working in London"

All parties involved were committed to developing a powerful-yet-elegant tool; an approach which has proven essential in meeting the demands of a city as complex and varied as London.


IFSEC, London 2018


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