Sutton and Kingston Councils will be working with UK-based transport AI company VivaCity to help improve active travel insight and the safety of high footfall areas.
The councils, as part of the InnOvaTe project, will utilise VivaCity’s AI and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to provide data on different transport modes and movement patterns.
The project follows initiatives such as the trial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and School Streets scheme, with both councils committed to addressing issues that affect the environment and health of their communities with the resources it has available.
The COVID-19 outbreak created a cultural shift in individuals’ daily habits, resulting in traffic levels falling dramatically and providing residents with a safer environment to take their daily exercise or plan essential trips.
With a move back towards a new normal, the pilot study can anonymously support crowd management, monitoring the impact of road and pavement changes and reducing the infection risk for residents with better management of high footfall areas.
These infrastructure changes can, in particular, help to improve active travel routes, enhance space and safety and, as a result, encourage and accommodate more walking and cycling.
The project data will help the councils understand more about travel behaviours and patterns and to assess and improve the impact any changes are having.
Steve O’Connor, Assistant Director of Digital and IT at Sutton and Kingston Councils, said:
“We are excited to be working with VivaCity to pilot this technology which aims to improve safety for our residents in Sutton and Kingston.
“We appreciate how daily habits have significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there has never been a more important time for councils to have a clear understanding of the environment and health of their communities.”
Mark Nicholson, CEO of VivaCity, said:
“The pandemic has seen a significant shift in travel trends, and it has brought about changes to road and pavement space in order to accommodate for active travel and help people to keep their distance. Data insights provide the ability to both analyse where to implement changes and evaluate the effectiveness of these schemes.
The next stages of regeneration are crucial, and we’re delighted to be working with Sutton and Kingston Councils to help improve their active travel insight and assess and improve the safety of high footfall areas.”
If the pilot is successful, there will be an option to expand the scheme more widely across the boroughs and also into the adjacent boroughs of Merton, Croydon and Richmond.