Without smart transport networks, smart cities’ potential will not be realised
22 Jul 2020 by Hong Eng Koh, Global Chief Government Industry Scientist, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei
Technology may continue to transform our lives but the humble road will remain the veins of our cities. Roads have fuelled human ingenuity for centuries and are as critical today as they were hundreds of years ago. No matter how smart a city may be, all aspects of it will grind to a halt with an inefficient road network. Residents can lose several days of productivity each year thanks to congestion– whether in fast growing cities in Asia such as Jakarta or Bangkok, Latin America such as Bogota or Rio de Janeiro, or European cities ill-suited to cars like Paris or Rome.
Solving these issues is not simple, even with the advent of smart city technology. Collecting data from a digital road traffic network is difficult. The sheer volume of (literally) moving parts produces huge amounts of data, straining both software and hardware. And there is a variety of issues to solve, from directing the flow efficiently through a city and reducing the number of crashes to clamping down on traffic violations.
At Huawei, a three-pronged approach to traffic management ensures the smoother running of a city; Sharp Eyes detecting issues, a Powerful Brain analysing data and Simplified Operations and Management ensuring the smooth running of a road network. Our Intelligent Management Solution unifies these and is being successfully deployed in many cities globally, including Yanbu, Lahore and Cote D’Ivoire.
Pinpointing traffic violations
Our Sharp Eyes system can turn every junction into a checkpoint monitoring traffic movement and violation. Software defined cameras supporting more than 20 algorithms pick up traffic violations from occupying emergency lanes to running red lights.
Its recognition accuracy rates are more than 95 per cent, accident detection in eight seconds, and can monitor up to 200 metres in all-weather and low and bright light conditions. Twenty TOPS computing power optimises image quality where necessary.
Even as a standalone system, Sharp Eyes can help a city enforce traffic law by monitoring and reviewing potential violations and processing penalties where necessary.
Intelligent analysis delivering vehicle check and control
Our Powerful Brain functionality uses big data analytics to find vehicles of interest, querying up to hundreds of millions of data records to find the necessary information within seconds. Users can access more than 100 algorithms through the service’s Multi-Algorithm Warehouse, opening the door to ever more sophisticated solutions.
It can serve as a safety net for the police, by offering secondary image analysis to provide back-end monitoring of violations. This means police can monitor more kinds of crime, make combating and preventing vehicle-related crime more efficient.
“The humble road will remain the veins of our cities”
Its functionality also extends into traffic management, with the software able to sense traffic in all locations at any time. The sophistication and minimal latencies of the solution means cities can be swiftly made aware of potential congestion and control traffic lights to smooth bottlenecks of vehicles.
Managing traffic through simplified operations
The data collecting and processing features sit within an integrated design allowing flexible deployment. It runs on Huawei’s own PowerCube 500 technology, which requires no on-site cabling.
Huawei’s eSight operations and management technology allows cities to manage more than 200,000 devices while an intelligent site planning tool helps to improve deployment efficiency by 30 per cent.
Smoother running cities mean smarter cities
Lahore has been the most widespread deployment of Huawei’s Intelligent Management Solution to date and the technology has swiftly had an impact on the Pakistani city’s road network. The city’s transport network has been under strain thanks to mass migration in the wake of booming economic growth. Roads were a chaotic mix of cars, motorcycles, buses and carriages.
More than 800 onboard cameras, 130 portable tripod-mounted cameras, 80 automatic number plate recognition sites, 270 licence plate recognition cameras, 110 e-police sites, 900 e-police cameras, 130 traffic light sites and 300 traffic flow sensors were rolled out across the city.
“Huawei’s solutions are central to reducing accidents, violations and traffic”
Huawei’s system quickly got to grips with the city’s traffic problems, recording more than 60 million violations since deployment in 2017. In the first two months, more than 130,000 electronic tickets were issued to offending road users. The infrastructure also helped reduce red light violations by two thirds and traffic accidents by 83 per cent, with a corresponding relaxation of congestion across the city.
Another successful deployment was in Cote d’Ivoire, where Huawei worked with partners to deploy a traffic management network across the city of Abidjan. This comprised more than 10 traffic guidance screens, six e-Police cameras, over 20 licence plate recognition cameras and more than 10 automatic number plate recognition systems. This network gives a flexible and comprehensive picture of traffic movements across the city and has had a demonstrable effect on reducing violations and improving efficiency.
Meanwhile in the Saudi city of Yanbu, traffic violations fell by 60 per cent after more than 250 high definition cameras were installed alongside e-Police facilities at 16 major junctions.
Living smart, moving smart
Roads have underpinned trade, investment and our societies for centuries and have been robust enough to bear the effects of innovation in how we travel. Population growth and the lure of cities have meant road networks are ever more vital to a healthy society.
However, this requires flexible, secure and intelligent infrastructure to ensure the safe and efficient flow of people and vehicles. It also needs to be robust enough to absorb any unexpected change. Covid-19 has demonstrated how travel networks need to be able to adapt sharply to any event.
Huawei’s Intelligent Traffic Management solution makes it easier for cities to manage their roads. This means cities will have the freedom and resources to devote to other tasks and fuel further innovation. An intelligent road network is critical for an intelligent city that is home to a healthy and productive population. What was true centuries ago is true today.
About the author:
Hong-Eng Koh has 30 years of government operations and ICT knowledge and experience, including the years with the Singapore Police and subsequently driving the Singapore national e-Government program. Before joining Huawei to lead the Global Government Industry Expert Office, he spent 16 years in Oracle holding various government business lead roles, including the global lead for public safety.
A globally recognized industry expert, he was voted by the US based Security.World as the world’s top 12 market influencers in security. He was a visiting researcher at the China Public Security University, and currently serving on the expert panel of the Geneva based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.
Over the years, he developed various government digital transformation concepts and architectures, such as collaborative e-Government in the age of the sharing economy, Social-Enabled Policing, and Collaborative Public Safety. In 2018, he created the 7A framework in identifying use cases for AI adoption to accelerate government digital transformation.