VivaCity, a provider of AI traffic monitoring and smart traffic control sensors, has partnered with several Welsh authorities across Wales, including Transport for Wales (TfW), the Welsh Government (WG) and Welsh Local Authorities, to encourage safe, active and sustainable travel.
Working with the different authorities, VivaCity’s AI-powered sensors are helping to shape decision making on infrastructure, ensuring that travel is optimized for all road users. This is amid news that more than half of fatal crashes in Britain occur on rural roads, and cyclists are three times as likely to be killed on a rural road than an urban road.
VivaCity’s sensors have been utilized at selected phase one 20mph sites to understand the impact of Wales’ new default speed limit introduction over the past 18 months. This data has allowed for the capture of behavior change over time and has also looked at speed behaviors at crossings, such as yielding and giving way.
Working with Cardiff Council as part of a trial of non-prescribed zebra crossings, VivaCity’s AI sensors have also collected anonymous road user data to understand the crossings’ impact on pedestrian and vehicle interactions. The insights provided by these sensors have proven to be accurate and anonymous, and have given the council valuable information on the behavior of both vehicles and cyclists when pedestrians are using the crossings.
Meanwhile, zebra crossings that formed part of a walk to school route have also been analyzed. The aim was to understand how the reduced speed limits have impacted safety for pedestrians. Using VivaCity’s sensors, the council has been able to gain valuable insights into how vehicles alter their behavior when approaching crossings and how the presence of side zebra crossings influences where pedestrians cross, therefore improving road safety.
In addition, three VivaCity sensors were installed as a temporary scheme by Monmouthshire County Council in Abergavenny, following the implementation of a contraflow cycle lane in the town center. The sensors gather multi-modal count, path, and speed data, which can be used to determine if cycling increased in popularity because of the cycle lane, and if vehicle speed has reduced following the narrowing of the road space.
Rhian Watts, head of transportation modelling at TfW, said, “The implementation of VivaCity’s sensors has provided invaluable data to local authorities that can assist with safety regulations and improving infrastructure. We chose VivaCity’s sensors as they can provide highly accurate data on speed and interactions between pedestrians and road users that traditional technologies were not able to. Our goal is to make the roads in Wales safe for all road users, and VivaCity is helping us understand what we can do to achieve it.”
As part of a national trial to reduce the default speed limit to 20mph in residential areas, Flintshire County Council has also implemented VivaCity’s AI sensors to monitor and analyze the impact of reducing speed limits on pedestrian footfall and vehicle volumes, and pedestrian/vehicle interactions. The Welsh Government has confirmed that the national rollout of the default speed limit is set for September 2023, citing the primary motivation behind the initiative as encouraging active and sustainable travel.
Mark Nicholson, CEO and co-founder at VivaCity, added, “While VivaCity’s initial efforts have primarily focused on urban towns and cities, further expansion into rural areas is necessary in reducing incidents on our roads. It has been great to see the positive results from our sensors in Cardiff, Monmouthshire County, and Flintshire County councils, and the insight they provide to the local governments. It is VivaCity’s goal to help make travel safe and sustainable for all, and we are proud to see our technology help make a difference.”
VivaCity’s data is not only useful for improving road safety, but it can also be used in line with the Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG) framework. The framework requires that any proposed transport intervention should be based on robust, long-term data. This is where VivaCity’s data comes in, providing the necessary evidence to support the development, appraisal, and evaluation of such interventions in Wales.
The importance of robust evidence is highlighted in the WelTAG framework, which emphasizes that it should underlie the entire process, from outlining a case to post-implementation. With VivaCity’s data, transport planners in Wales can make informed decisions about proposed interventions, ensuring that they are evidence-based and have a high chance of success.