Press Coverage

Kingston Courier: Kingston to use AI to make transport decisions

Friday, 16 April, 2021

We are working with Kingston Council and Sutton Council to help anonymously monitor and track the real-time movement of people through the town, with a focus on active travel initiatives, as well as enabling pedestrians and other road users are able to practise social distancing safely. Our sensors are designed to provide accurate data on the usage statistics of road environments in a completely anonymous way, without recording, storing or streaming video footage.

The sensors have been installed to enable the councils to demonstrate the utilisation of pedestrians and cyclists across the network and see how this may change as restrictions ease. The data gathered from the sensors will help the council make policy decisions like installing a new cycle lane or zebra crossing and then use it to monitor the impact of those changes. The technology can calculate how long it takes for a car or cyclist to get from Penrhyn Road to Kingston Bridge for example, and can also distinguish between nine types of vehicles including cyclists and mopeds.

Corporate head of digital strategy and portfolio at Kingston Council David Grasty said: “When the first [Covid] wave happened there were a lot of things done to widen pavements so that people wouldn’t have to crowd in on each other.

“We took lanes out of the road based on where we thought there might be problems, but there was no evidence or real data to do that.”

The AI works by using sensors in particular areas to monitor footfall and patterns of movement.

With non-essential shops due to reopen on April 12, it is a challenge for councils to predict how people will behave in terms of going out and which modes of transport will be favoured.

CEO Mark Nicholson said: “The only way that you can try and get an insight into what’s going to happen is to at least understand the situation today otherwise you don’t have any chance at all.”

The sensors have been installed throughout Kingston town centre and on the Riverside and went live on April 6.

Read the full article in the Kingston Courier.

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