One of the UK’s leading providers of video-based intelligent traffic enforcement and management systems, Videalert, has been awarded the contract to enforce the new Clean Air Zone (CAZ) that will be introduced in the city of Bath in 2020.
Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES Council) is extending its existing Videalert CCTV enforcement platform with the installation of additional cameras for its UK government-approved class C CAZ. The class C CAZ gives exemptions to private cars, but charges higher polluting buses, coaches, trucks, vans, private hire vehicles and taxis. Videalert was awarded the new contract to ensure full and seamless integration with the council’s existing hosted digital video platform that the company had deployed for the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is already being used to enforce a wide range of traffic restrictions, including bus lanes, bus gates and permit parking.
B&NES Council was one of 28 councils directed by the UK government to prepare an action plan to urgently reduce high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) caused by vehicle emissions to within EU and national limits by 2021 at the latest. The authority had originally proposed a Class D CAZ, charging all higher emission vehicles, including cars, to drive in the city center. However, following further ongoing technical work and a public consultation in December 2018, which garnered an unprecedented 8,421 responses, a class C option with additional traffic management, was agreed. The CAZ should commence operation at the end of 2020. The daily charge will be £9 (US$11.74) for non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles and light goods vehicles (the minimum standard being Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol), and £100 (US$130) for buses, coaches and trucks (the minimum standard being Euro 6).
Videalert will be installing its ONVIF-compliant HD ALPR cameras to enforce the new CAZ scheme at key road junctions across the designated boundary. The hosted Videalert platform will automate the management and enforcement of this new zone, providing real-time identification including vehicle make, model, color and Euro-standard rating for pre-filtering and updating the white-list of compliant vehicles that is held at the ‘edge’ to minimize transmission costs. Information on non-compliant vehicles will then interface with the UK government’s new national clean air zone database for vehicle validation and payment. The system will also provide detailed analytics and impact analysis highlighting the reduction in non-compliant vehicles entering the zone over time.
According to Chris Major, group manager for transport and parking at B&NES Council, “The new charging class C CAZ will achieve compliance by 2021, apart from a single exceedance caused by localized traffic issues. We believe this will be resolved by installing traffic signals at two junctions.”
Videalert’s sales and marketing director, Tim Daniels, commented, “The award of this high-profile contract confirms our ability to handle the evolving requirements of clean air and low emission zones. It also demonstrates how a single video data platform can support multiple applications, enabling councils to address the challenges of improving traffic congestion and air quality simultaneously.”