The programme, which uses AI-powered air quality sensors, is part of the Healthy Streets Everyday initiative, funded by the London mayor, and aims to deliver pedestrian-priority streets.
The London Borough of Hackney is seeking to improve air quality, safety and reducing emissions of streets around schools as part of the Healthy Streets Everyday programme.
It has been implemented with the Cross River Partnership (CRP), a non-profit which aims to deliver positive change for London’s residents, businesses and visitors, using technology from London-based transport technology scale-up Vivacity Labs.
CRP’s Healthy Streets Everyday programme is a mayor of London air quality-funded project to empower boroughs, businesses and communities across London to deliver pedestrian-priority healthy streets, increase walking rates and reduce emissions and exposure to toxic air.
A Vivacity sensor was installed outside Saint Scholastica’s Roman Catholic Primary School, London Borough of Hackney, to collect anonymous data on different types of road users, helping local authorities to better understand movement patterns.
CRP’s Vivacity programme, which took place between 4 November and 31 December 2020, helped provide evidence that the School Streets scheme, which involves a section of road closed to vehicular traffic, was being used as planned and that the number of parents and children walking to school had increased.
“Our partnership with Vivacity Labs has gone a long way in making streets safer, smarter and more sustainable,” said Fiona Coull, project manager, CRP. “Cross River Partnership look[s] forward to continuing working with boroughs, businesses and authorities across London through the Healthy Streets Everyday programme to prioritise healthy streets for all.”
Hackney’s School Streets programme expansion means that School Streets covers more than 80 per cent of Hackney’s primary schools and helps more than 15,000 children walk and cycle to school.
By running baseline surveys, then monitoring and evaluating the scheme post implementation over the same time periods, Vivacity Labs is able to ensure consistency and objective assessment on whether a School Street zone has achieved its aims or if any changes need to be made.
Accurate sensor data can answer multiple questions including whether congestion and speed has been reduced and whether a particular scheme has encouraged more cycling and walking.
“The pandemic has changed the way we travel and it’s never been more important for authorities to have accurate data that allows them to analyse new trends”
Vivacity’s sensors use artificial intelligence and machine learning to capture anonymous traffic counts across a selected count line. These counts can show the interactions between pedestrians, cyclists and cars, for example. The data is completely anonymised, and each frame of video is deleted immediately after processing.
“The pandemic has changed the way we travel and it’s never been more important for authorities to have accurate data that allows them to analyse new trends,” said Mark Nicholson, CEO and co-founder, Vivacity Labs. “We’re extremely proud to be supporting the implementation of initiatives that encourage active travel, lower pollution levels and help create healthier streets.”
CRP was originally formed to implement cross river infrastructure projects such as the Millennium Bridge and has since diversified to deliver a wide range of environmental, economic and community regeneration projects.
The School Streets programme is delivered through the London Streetspace Programme and the Active Travel Fund managed by Transport for London.