Transport for London is expanding a trial of artificial intelligence (AI) in a bid to more accurately count the number of cyclists on the capital’s roads and better plan new cycling improvements.
Traditionally the agency has relied on manual traffic counts to work out how many people are cycling on any given road but since 2018 it’s been trialling sensors provided by Vivacity Labs at two locations along Millbank which use AI to detect road users and decide which mode of transport they are using.
The sensors capture video footage of the road, assess which transport mode is being used, takes a count and then discards the video footage. TfL says this means no personal data is ever stored.
Automated counting offers TfL a number of advantages over manual counting as it can be conducted 24/7, ensuring a more accurate count and better informing the planning of new cycle routes and upgrades to cycling infrastructure.
With the initial trials proving the sensors to be up to 98 per cent accurate, the technology is to be rolled out to twenty additional central London locations for further testing.
The proposed new locations are:
- Blackfriars Road / Stamford Street
- Blackfriars Road interchange between Cycleways 3 and 6
- Millbank /Vauxhall Bridge
- Great Dover Street
- Upper Thames Street / Southwark Bridge
- Old Street
- Tower Hill / Tower Gateway
- Westminster Bridge / York Road / Lambeth Palace Road
- King’s Cross Road
- Newington Buts
- Lambeth Bridge / Albert Embankment
- Whitechapel High Street
- Waterloo Bridge / Waterloo Road
- London Bridge
- Tower Bridge
- Shoreditch High Street
- Marylebone Road
- City Road / Colebrook Row
- Hyde Park Corner
- Edgware Road
TfL says the locations were chosen as they see the widest possible mix of road user types, including people walking, cycling, motorcyclists, buses, and freight vehicles. Assuming the second phase of tests proves as successful as the Millbank trials, the sensors will be expanded to outer London.
London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “By getting more people cycling and walking, we can help to tackle congestion and pollution in London and improve our health.
“Our Healthy Streets approach is based on evidence and data and we welcome new technology that supports this.”
Mark Nicholson, CEO & Co-Founder of Vivacity Labs, added: “We are delighted to have been successful in the competitive trials, and to now be rolling out a set of sensors at critical junctions in a global city such as London.”
Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management, said: “We work around the clock to keep people in London moving and we’re always looking for innovative new ways of making our roads safer and more efficient.
“New data from trials such as this will be really valuable as we invest and make day-to-day decisions to enable more people to walk and cycle.”