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Data helps reduce congestion in Australian suburbs

The expanding University of Wollongong campus is expected to bring 7,000 extra students to the city

The solution will use using machine learning to count people and cars at key locations
The solution will use using machine learning to count people and cars at key locations

Liverpool City Council is collaborating with the Smart infrastructure facility at the University of Wollongong and IT integration company, Meshed, to measure pedestrian and vehicle movements around the central business district (CBD) based on Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.


The year-long project began in March and was made possible by a $120,000 smart cities and suburbs grant from the Australian federal government and matched dollar-for-dollar by Liverpool City Council to enable a $240,000 project.


Thousands of people already walk and commute through Liverpool CBD every day, but the expanding University of Wollongong campus is expected to bring 7,000 extra students to the city. This, coupled with the city’s growth due to housing and office space is anticipated to deliver 30,000 extra pedestrian movements per day.


Add this to students about to be enrolled in a new Western Sydney University campus, an increase of the city centre population and the planning needs become obvious and urgent.


Smart researchers Dr Nicolas Verstaevel and Dr Johan Barthelemy will develop a solution using machine learning to count people and cars at key location using IoT technologies.


Meshed, which already works with Smart as part of its digital living lab, will be installing LoRaWAN gateways throughout Liverpool CBD, and Smart researchers will be installing air quality sensors throughout the area.


According to Liverpool mayor Wendy Waller, the city’s rapid expansion made the project necessary. “We call Liverpool the seven-minute city, because that is how quickly you can walk between major landmarks,” she said.


“You could almost say Liverpool has been a smart city since it was laid out in 1827, but this brings it to a new level. The number of cranes around the CBD shows how rapidly we are growing, with more housing, offices and educational facilities.


“Council’s Civic Place redevelopment, which will include the new University of Wollongong campus, is expected to lead to 30,000 extra pedestrian movements per day.


“We will be using the data to plan future pedestrian and vehicle movements throughout our city to ease congestion, provide better transport options and improve health and safety,” she said.


“The project will provide information on pedestrian flows walking through the CBD,” added senior professor Pascal Perez, director, Smart.


“It will help us understand how pedestrian and vehicle traffic flows will evolve and how the city of Liverpool will need to adapt infrastructure to adapt to these significant changes.”


It is anticipated that the project will illustrate the potential for diverse projects using the LoRaWAN network that is already occurring with the network installed in Wollongong.


“The fact that we will already have sensors and gateways in Liverpool opens up the opportunity for more projects beyond the smart pedestrian project,” concluded Perez.


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