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Adaptive traffic management with smart cameras

The FLOW software is very easy to work with thanks to its user friendly interface and wide range of communication options really allowing you to set up the detection of any traffic task or condition you can think of and communicate the data to wherever you need it. Compared to inductive loops the SmartCameras provide much more useful information allowing for trully adaptive traffic and even gathering of varios statistics for smart city platforms. We have been working with DataFromSky over a year now and they have always responded swiftly and provided great support. When asked, they were also able to quickly implement customizations required by the client.

-Josip Ratkaj, Senior traffic engineer, TraffSignal
Camera closeup fixing ratio EXPORT v.1

Project details

  • Use case: Traffic flow improvement
  • Product: FLOW
  • Vertical: Municipality
  • Location: Croatia, Slovenia (Varazdim, Maribor)


Improving traffic flow is a very important topic to cities as the number of road users keeps growing. To be able to get more out of current road capacity, municipalities are turning to smart technologies like traffic detection and traffic control to improve the situation.
Hwever, making significant improvements to traffic flow has not been possible until recently. For a long time inductive loop technology was the only way to manage traffic adaptively but it could only do so much. Due to the costs of inductive loops, only one was usually installed per lane meaning the traffic controller would only know that a car has recently passed. Hovewer with FLOW, you can utilize UDP sinks, namely the object sink which can tell the traffic controller the exact number of cars currently present in each traffic lane giving the much needed detail for much more efficient traffic control. 

In Varazdim the municipality wanted to improve traffic on a  busy 4-arm intersection next that was shopping mall and was also on on a road connecting to higway. (PLEASE CLARIFY IF WE KNOW THE REASONS FOR THIS – what was the situation like before and WHAT WERE THE CLIENT REQUIREMENTS – did they want traffic statistics too?

Example: “The intersection was not too busy but vehicles passing through there were inccurring unnecessary delays by having to stop stop and causing pollution even when there were the only one vehicle at the intersection.”

So they asked our partner TraffSignal was to implement the adaptive traffic control. For this TraffSignal has decided to use the TrafficCameras by DataFromSky that they have already previously deployed on multiple intersections.


Situation

2 in 1 – adaptive traffic control and statistics

Did the municipality have any requirements for how the adaptive traffic should work?

The requirement for the adaptive traffic was to trigger green light for the given direction when just a single car was present at the intersection. When the traffic levels increased the busier traffic lanes were given longer green light periods. 

Could TRAFF SIGNAL explain a little bit about how the UDP sink data was used to manage the traffic signal timing?

On top of being able to manage the traffic adaptively to better the traffic flow the municipality also wanted to gather traffic statistics such as vehicle counts for each direction and distribution of the traffic in terms of the vehicle types to better understand the traffic flow at this intersection.

The solution also had to be GDPR compliant as this was a deployment in EU member country.

The last challenge was that this junction was further from the city center so there was no internet cabling at the location so LTE/4G had to be supported in order to send the data to the smart city platform. (please clarify how internet connectivity was achieved for this installation)


To fulfill all of these quite demanding requirements in one solution, TraffSignal has decide to go with TrafficCameras by DataFromSky with built-in FLOW videoanalytics specialized for traffic data gathering.



varazdin Traffic junction side view

4x way traffic junction in Varazdin with one TrafficCamera monitoring each incoming direction

DataFromSky solution - 4x all-in-one TrafficCameras



A set of 8 collaborative RTSP cameras is installed on light poles to cover the 400m driveway just before the roundabout. We designed the camera and unit placement location and height to achieve optimal coverage. There are 8 cameras connected to 4 TrafficEmbedded units to process the video feed into traffic data. WiFi connection is established between the units for data sharing and the master TrafficEmbedded Micro unit has LTE to communicate the traffic insights to the INVIPO smart city platform using REST API every 5 minutes sending aggregated data. The operating expenses of this system were significantly reduced thanks to the solution having only one LTE modem and communicating this data at longer intervals instead of streaming it continuously. Edge processing not only makes the units GDPR compliant but also reduces data communication needs drastically.


Varazdim

The TrafficCameras were able traffic statistics such as the category distribution of traffic, the number of vehicles from each direction as well as turning movement counts. If the council wanted it would have also been possible to measure speed of vehicles approaching the intersection as all of the 4x directions. All the data was processed in accordance with GDPR thanks to edge processing of the data (only aggregated data was sent to smart city platform) – WAS THIS CONNECTED TO SOMETHING ELSE THAN THE TRAFFIC CONTROLLER?. On top of that the stream was anonymized, meaning all the licence plates and faces of pedestrians were blurred out for increased privacy.

with very low latency 


INTERNET CONNECTIVITY

The installation of the cameras was easy thanks to needing only POE to both receive power and be connected to the internet. 

varazdin TOP DOWN view of the intersection crossing

In the image you can see one of the spatial filter zones that monitors the traffic, measures passage time through the zone and based on the speeds of cars in the different zones the system determines the length of the traffic jam.

The evaluation of exact vehicle traces extracted from the video streams is done by FLOW framework running on the TrafficEmbedded units. The units were remotely set up to measure traffic intensity, calculate the level of service, and provide the information about the length of traffic jams. All of this in real-time to allow immediate responses to the current traffic situation.

Maribor flat view of the intersection 2 entries

FLOW insights offers a range of data visualisation options to choose from including simple values, statistical values, time and distribution based graphs, OD matrices, heatmaps and gridmaps.

For getting the correct level of service the FLOW filtered out all single track vehicles using the category filter. Level of service is then calculated from the objects that have already passed through the zone. Using the time block settings the data output is the average of the last 5 minutes. FLOW scripting feature was used for the optimization of measuring the length of the column by a traffic expert. Thanks to this unique function FLOW provided the optimal solution for pinpointing the length of the columns as well as evaluating the changes of traffic flow in the monitored road segment.

Powering the smart city platform INVIPO

The traffic data and events detected by FLOW framework are automatically sent to a smart-city platform INVIPO via a secured REST API. This platform stores all data and offers detailed historical statistics and exports, which the operator can then use to improve the traffic situation in the city. The platform provides a virtual twin of the intersection from bird’s-eye view for easy comprehension. The most recent data from the scene is clearly visualized with an overview of each of the road sections and data on traffic flow in each of the traffic lanes. Each of the visualized zones has color-coded level of service and traffic flow data for 5 minutes and 1 hour. There is also a graph showing the length of the traffic congestion throughout the day which is enabled by the FLOW expression scripting feature.

INVIPO image ULM

INVIPO customized dashboard – visualization of the current traffic situation in a 400m long road section in real time. It shows the current level of service, length of the congestion, and traffic statistics per segment in a defined time-window.

The FLOW framework allowed us to design the ideal solution for the client effortlessly despite the complexity of the task which was the detection and measuring of traffic congestion length on a 400 meter road-segment. We were able to create a unique sensoric solution that connected 8 cameras in a collaborative way. We set up the analytics in a few clicks and it seamlessly integrated with our smart city platform INVIPO with the use of REST API. Thanks to the flexibility of the FLOW framework in solving traffic monitoring and detection tasks we are planning to use it in many of our future projects, especially whenever customer asks us for a quick-and-reliable traffic monitoring solution.

-Lukáš Duffek, CEO, INVIPO

Results

We have been able to deliver better value, functionality and easier installation compared to the original proposed solution of using induction loops. We have achieved continuous 24/7 monitoring and data gathering of detailed traffic statistics for each road lane. Cost-effective video-analytic traffic monitoring system was deployed thanks to optimal camera coverage, smart data usage and multi-purpose nature of the FLOW framework. The detection and reporting of the level of service and possible congestion is automatic and all 8 video streams are processed on the fly on locally installed video-analytics units TrafficEmbedded.  The whole system has been running for months without any issues. 

The solution is a joint project of the Czech companies #CrossZlín, #Incinity, and #DataFromSky. Where CROSS Zlín is a project coordinator, INCINITY delivered the smart city platform INVIPO to aggregate, gather and visualize the data, and DataFromSky delivered the video-analytic traffic monitoring solution based on the FLOW framework including HW.

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Challenge

  • Real-time monitoring of 4x junction arms
  • Collection of vehicle presence in zones for adaptive traffic control
  • Gathering of traffic statistics and sending them to smart city platform
  • GDPR compliance
  • Data connectivity

FLOW Solution

  • 4x TrafficCameras installed on traffic light poles covering all 4x arms of the intersection
  • Wireless communication???
  • Multipurpose FLOW framework for real-time adaptive traffic data as well as long-term traffic statistics gathering
  • FLOW UDP protocol for communication with traffic controller

Results

  • 24/7 real-time adaptive traffic control and traffic monitoring
  • Non-intrusive nature and fast deployment of the solution
  • Remote and on-demand addition of new analytics features / traffic metrics thanks to FLOW framework
  • Smooth integration with the traffic controller

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