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Maintaining highway safety with ITS

Maintaining highway safety with ITS
An overarching goal of highway traffic management is safety, which has gained importance as many countries seek to reduce highway fatality rate to zero. Intelligent transportation systems, which use connected devices and sensors and the data they generate to increase situational awareness, can play an important part in this.
Genetec, for example, has a solution called Traffic Sense that combines incident identification, verification, management, and communication into a single platform. It analyzes data from various devices and sensors to help operators deal with traffic situations. “For example you can have a car who comes to a standstill. From the moment you have a car that comes to a standstill, via video analytics we'll detect that the car is not moving forward anymore, and dynamically that lane could be blocked off so all the cars would leave that lane so as to avoid an accident,” said Nick d’Hoedt, Regional Sales Director for Benelux, Nordics and DACH at Genetec.

Toughening law enforcement

ITS can also help with law enforcement, a critical element in keeping highways safe. Catching speeding vehicles and issuing fines to them is an important part in this. In a case study provided by Siemens, an inter-urban version of Siemens SafeZone speed enforcement system has been deployed in the Netherlands – the first deployment of Siemens SafeZone outside of the U.K. – to discourage motorists from exceeding 80 kilometers per hour on two sections of the A13 motorway, the main arterial route between Rotterdam and The Hague.
According to Siemens, based on its license plate recognition technology, the system supports multi-lane and multi-entry/exit points, multiple speeds and class of vehicles. Each camera in the enforced network reads the license plate of every vehicle passing through its field of view, and it sends an encrypted plate read including time and date stamp to the Evidence Retrieval and Control Unit (ERCU) back office, where the plates are matched from two or more cameras. The time difference between the matched reads is used to determine the average speed of the vehicle between cameras. Evidential records are created for vehicles that exceed the set speed threshold. These encrypted records are transferred from the ERCU to an offense viewing and decision system for decrypting and viewing, before being passed on to third-party penalty notice management systems.
“The system detects and checks speeding vehicles 24/7 using 12 license plate recognition cameras and associated communications equipment and server including seven outstations and one instation to provide the Ministry of Justice with evidential records of violations for processing,” it said. “SafeZone calculates average speed over a measured distance travelled within the zone, ensuring high compliance to the speed limits, safer motoring and smoother traffic flow.”
Besides catching speeding vehicles, ITS can also help identify suspicious vehicles moving on highways and alert authorities, who can then respond accordingly. “If you have sensors installed, you can already have a blacklist compilation for stolen cars. The number plates of stolen cars are identified to the police force. As you read the number plate you can already have information saying we have a stolen car going in the direction of the airport. Then you can heighten the security level of the airport and inform the police at the airport that you have a stolen car coming in,”  d’Hoedt said.

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