Portsmouth City Council wanted to introduce unattended enforcement at a number of bus lane locations to reduce the high incidence of contraventions currently committed by motorists and enable the provision of an even better public transport service. Situated on the south coast of England, Portsmouth is a dynamic and vibrant waterfront city with a long naval and maritime heritage. It has world-class visitor attractions including museums, galleries, shopping destinations and miles of waterfront.
Portsmouth City Council wanted to introduce unattended enforcement at a number of bus lane locations to reduce the high incidence of contraventions currently committed by motorists and enable the provision of an even better public transport service. Subsequently, the council wanted to use the same platform to enforce parking contraventions on the ‘keep clears’ outside schools where it had identified that children’s lives were being put in danger.
After a detailed procurement exercise, Portsmouth City Council awarded Videalert a ground-breaking contract to deploy its new DfT Manufacturer Certified hosted solution, the UK’s first hosted civil enforcement platform that does not require any hardware or software to be installed on customer premises.
According to Michael Robinson, Parking Services Manager at Portsmouth City Council: “Videalert’s hosted enforcement solution was so easy to install because it did not require the procurement and deployment of any equipment within our IT infrastructure or software installed on local PCs for evidence pack review. This is the first phase of a long-term program to deploy enforcement across the city to reduce congestion and speed up public transport.”
Portsmouth City Council acquired the cameras and RDS units which were installed on lamp posts at the target locations to provide video processing at the network edge. This enabled offences to be automatically captured and evidence packs retrieved from the RDS units via a cellular 3G/4G connection using a dedicated hosted server within Videalert’s Virtual Server Farm. This dedicated virtual server environment provided the highest level of security and integrity with cloud storage used for backup.
The Videalert system combines automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) with video analytics to provide an added layer of intelligence that enables moving objects to be automatically tracked. It delivers accurate and reliable enforcement in busy traffic conditions by accurately capturing only those vehicles actually committing an offence. This enables the system to deliver the highest productivity at the lowest operational cost.
“Videalert’s hosted enforcement solution has proven reliability, accurately captures the number plates of vehicles committing offences in busy traffic conditions and minimises the incidence of false reads,” continued Michael Robinson.
Trained operators access and review the evidence packs using standard web browsers before transmitting confirmed offences to the council’s Xerox SI-Dem back office processing system for PCNs to be issued.
Outsourcing to a hosted enforcement environment enables Portsmouth City Council to improve efficiency, maintain greater control over budgets and reduce both hardware and software costs. It also eliminates the potential support issues that often occur when sharing IT resources with other council departments.
Portsmouth City Council has subsequently added school safety to the range of enforcement applications running on its hosted Digital Video Platform after a survey of parents, teachers and school governors showed an overwhelming 84% support for this initiative.
Using a single PTZ camera outside each school, the Videalert system continuously monitors the ‘keep clear’ zones and automatically captures only the drivers that are stationary in defined ‘watch areas’ and exceed the ‘watch times’. It is highly flexible, allowing cameras to be redeployed during school holidays to monitor and enforce additional bus lane contraventions and enhance system productivity throughout the whole year. This will enable protection to be extended to more schools and increase driver compliance during term time.
Cllr Jim Fleming, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: “The safety of children is of utmost importance and the Videalert system extends our ability to enforce keep clear markings outside schools at drop-off and pickup times. It provides continuous and consistent enforcement at these high risk locations and frees up our team of civil enforcement officers to focus on tactical patrols at other schools across the city.”
The hosted Videalert solution provides councils with the flexibility and future investment protection (as and when legislated) to enforce the full range of moving traffic offences, including banned turns, yellow box junctions, weight restrictions and keep clears outside schools, without needing to undertake a major IT infrastructure project.
This ease with which Portsmouth City Council has been able to add the enforcement of keep clears outside schools demonstrates how the Videalert platform can meet the changing needs of councils. The Videalert Hosted solution not only enables the rapid deployment of CCTV enforcement at problem locations, but also minimises council operational costs and provides future investment protection.