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China's ancient city of Xi'an implements intelligent traffic management

The system analyses comprehensive and detailed data about the movement of traffic through the urban Xi’an area, and uses the insight gathered to make the flow of traffic more smoothly.

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Technology is helping Xi'an to grow and flow within ancient walls
Technology is helping Xi'an to grow and flow within ancient walls

The Chinese ancient-walled city of Xi’an has deployed an intelligent traffic management system to help improve traffic flow and reduce journey times.

 

While economic growth has enabled the city to develop, its border of tall and ancient walls places great restriction on the city’s daily movement – especially to its burgeoning traffic.

 

Serious congestion

 

Vehicles can only enter and exit through the city gates, but with some three million vehicles in the city, the limited number of entrances was beginning to cause serious congestion.

 

To address this, Xi’an Urban Traffic Administration enlisted the help of video surveillance equipment manufacturer Hikvision.

 

Xi’an’s traffic police worked with Hikvision, as well as urban planning experts, internet service providers and other technology companies, to design and implement an intelligent traffic management system.

 

“It was only through technology that we could allow the modern city to grow and develop”

 

The system utilises Hikvision’s core advantages in urban transportation intelligence, employing AI-powered video to create a traffic sensing system.

 

“Xi’an’s city walls make it impossible to increase the size of the urban area. So, “it was only through technology that we could allow the modern city to grow and develop,” said Lihu Ma, the project manager from Hikvision. “A core part of the Hikvision solution involves our AI-powered video technology.”

 

The traffic management system analyses comprehensive and detailed data about the movement of traffic through the urban Xi’an area, and uses the insight gathered to make the flow of traffic more smoothly in three ways:

 

1 Comprehensive road traffic violation monitoring

Xi’an traffic police has installed Hikvision’s checkpoint capture cameras and intersection violation capture units as part of a monitoring system that can detect illegal vehicle behaviour at intersections. These full view ultra-high zoom cameras record vehicles making illegal manoeuvres – such as running red lights, making banned turns and illegal lane changes – in real time.

 

2 Visual integrated command and dispatching platform

All data is aggregated and dynamically displayed on a large screen in the command and control centre. In the event of a traffic incident, the system generates dispatch recommendations intelligently, according to the location and distribution of traffic police officers throughout the city. Those closest to an incident receive an automated message to their mobile terminals, enabling them to arrive at the scene quickly.

 

More importantly, the intelligent traffic management system uses advanced machine learning capabilities to gain insight into typical congestion patterns, to actively identify potential traffic events before they happen.

 

3 Improved vehicle flow capacity with intelligent signal control

The Xi’an traffic management team also employs congestion management practices to ease the flow of traffic, largely through the optimisation of signal timing.

 

Using video cameras coupled with augmented reality (AR) technology, the traffic management system analyses traffic flow data and dynamically alters the timing of signal lights accordingly. It will monitor traffic flow, queue length and average driving speed in all directions of intersections in real-time, automatically adjusting signal timing to optimise vehicle flow.

 

Compared with the test results of pilot roads before the system went live, city authorities claim intelligent signal control alone has increased the throughput of traffic by 10 per cent, while the average vehicle journey time has been reduced by around 12 per cent.

 

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