The Finnish city of Tampere has started testing artificial intelligence (AI) and 'Internet of Things' technologies to improve pedestrian safety.
Working in partnership with Tieto, an IT services and software company, Tampere has developed a solution that can automatically detect when a pedestrian is planning to cross the street at an intersection. In order to protect the privacy of those being monitored, the solution is built in a way that prevents the identification of individual people or vehicles.
The solution is based on a cloud-based AI system that is connected to a traffic camera, which monitors vehicles and pedestrians. The system gives an alert when a pedestrian is about to cross the street. This alert can be relayed to other connected systems, such as automatic traffic signs. In the future, the city of Tampere hopes to use this same technology to alert drivers of connected vehicles to the relevant movements of pedestrians.
The results of the first tests have been promising. Under ideal conditions, the system achieves 99% accuracy; even at night accuracy was high (75%). “We had identified the most common types of accidents between vehicles and pedestrians. Using these, we built an algorithm that can predict the movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the street,” says Pekka Stenman, Traffic Engineer at the City of Tampere.
“The new solution has many potential uses in addition to boosting traffic safety. We already receive information about vehicle traffic, but not very much about pedestrian traffic. We want to see how people move, and perhaps construct heat maps of Tampere’s pedestrian flows to assist with traffic planning. Another interesting opportunity is introducing more intelligence to traffic lights by identifying and predicting people flows”.
The pilot solution developed by the City of Tampere and Tieto was part of the 6Aika CityIoT project and the Smart Tampere programme. Smart Tampere is the strategic development programme of the City of Tampere for 2017–2021 aiming to achieve carbon-neutral housing, living and mobility in the Tampere region.
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