UK’s Oxfordshire County Council upgrades bus lane enforcement with automated system


Oxfordshire County Council has upgraded its bus lane enforcement system with the installation of a new automated platform from Videalert. The new system replaces a manually operated network of cameras and has been installed to reduce journey times and improve air quality in and around the City of Oxford.

The move to the new camera system was announced in October 2019 and the go-live date of 15 June was identified to support the increase in cyclists expected as more people are able to move around as the lockdown eases, as well as protect bus journeys for those who need to use public transport.

According to County Councillor Liam Walker, cabinet member for highway operation and delivery: “ANPR is more efficient and allows greater flexibility to review potential contraventions after the event. As we start to see lockdown being freed up we want to see more people switching to sustainable transport – cycling, walking and public transport are all preferable to driving for so many people. The council is working hard to ensure that Oxfordshire’s transport system is ready to meet the demands of more people starting to get out and about, and the new cameras will play a small part in that.”

The new locations for camera enforcement are Folly Bridge, Abingdon Road and Barton Park. Existing bus gates already enforced where new cameras have been installed are High Street, George Street, Castle Street and Magdalen Street. Signs have been in place for many years to warn motorists about the existing bus gates and, for a period, the new sites have additional signage to draw attention to the new enforcement.

Videalert uses the latest ONVIF-compliant HD ANPR (ALPR) cameras that deliver higher quality images to improve capture rates for contraventions. This is enhanced by combining ANPR and video analytics to identify only the vehicles that are actually committing offences. The system further allows the use of a whitelist of vehicles that can legitimately use the gates including buses, emergency vehicles and maintenance vehicles. The high quality images captured with Videalert’s HD cameras will also help to minimise discard-rates and reduce the number of appeals.

Captured evidence packs are transmitted and stored on Videalert’s hosted digital video platform where they can be accessed and reviewed securely over the internet. Validated evidence packs are sent to the council’s back office system to issue penalty charge notices (PCN). Videalert’s flexible hosted platform makes it a quick and cost effective process to deploy enforcement as it does not require the installation of any IT at the council’s offices.

The new system will deliver significantly higher productivity than older cameras with uptime rates of more than 99%. This is achieved using Videalert’s robust hosted infrastructure and proactive remote monitoring software for early identification of potential faults.

Videalert added: “We continue to be focused on delivering innovative traffic enforcement solutions which are proven to provide the highest productivity and the lowest operating costs whilst, at the same time, minimising equipment infrastructure and communication costs at each target enforcement location.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).