Aberdeen deploys new digital CCTV system to monitor city’s traffic flow


A new £300,000 (US$387,200) network of digital CCTV and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras, including automated alert systems, are being installed on key routes around the Scottish city of Aberdeen to monitor traffic flow and journey times.

Aberdeen City Council’s (ACC) traffic control center (TCC) will use the information gathered to help the flow of traffic going in and out of the city, particularly at key locations beside the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

The system will comprise cameras and communications systems, linked to a central monitoring and control system at the TCC. The camera system will provide extensive coverage of all the key routes to quickly identify congestion and allow TCC operators to implement remedial measures. This could include changing traffic signal timings, issuing traffic information on electronic messaging signs, traffic bulletins to media outlets, and information on travel web pages. There is also the potential to divert traffic on some heavily congested routes onto less congested routes.

Existing cameras are already operational in some locations around the city, but these do not provide real-time footage of traffic conditions, and there are several entry points that have no cameras sited by or near to those points. In addition, TCC operations staff have to rely on Police Scotland to advise of any incidents or issues. The 16 new PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) CCTV cameras provide 360º vision and are located at the optimum sites on the road network for monitoring traffic conditions, primarily at the busiest junctions or junctions with the greatest visibility of the corridor and at points where incidents, such as accidents or vehicle breakdowns, would have the greatest impact on traffic flow.

In addition to the CCTV cameras for traffic network monitoring, ACC also intends to install ALPR cameras on key traffic routes in and around the city for the purpose of journey time monitoring. This information will be used to alert operators when and where journeys are being delayed, which could indicate incidences on the roads network, such as a vehicle collision, breakdown or general congestion. The first phase deployment for the full back office system, cameras and associated infrastructure was installed by Scottish company Video Watchman Systems.

An ACC spokeswoman said, “This is a very exciting development for controlling traffic flow around the city, as it means operators can be alerted to incidents straight away, or can redirect traffic away from busy areas.”

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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).