Wellington City Council is set to deploy an innovative monitoring network to continuously collect detailed data on city traffic. This initiative aims to enhance decision-making based on accurate and comprehensive data.
The new traffic sensors will monitor various types of road users, such as cars, trucks, bicycles, scooters, buses, and pedestrians, tracking their travel paths and speeds 24/7, all year round. This consistent data collection will give the Council a clearer view of city movements, usage of cycleways, and the immediate effects of changes in the transport network.
Mayor Tory Whanau expressed enthusiasm for this pioneering technology, stating it’s crucial for city planning as Wellington continues to grow. The VivaCity sensors, chosen for their accurate, round-the-clock data collection, maintain user anonymity, offering a broader perspective of public space usage.
While the Council previously relied on manual counts and electronic counters to discern travel patterns, these methods lacked extensive coverage and consistent monitoring. The new system will fill these gaps, ensuring the Council can gauge the impacts of unforeseen events such as natural disasters or pandemics.
A key feature of the VivaCity sensors is their privacy-focused design. They do not store identifiable data, assuring citizen privacy. Peter Mildon, COO of VivaCity, emphasised the citizen-centric approach, highlighting the system’s alignment with data protection standards.
This move makes Wellington the first city in New Zealand to harness this award-winning technology. Set to begin this month, the sensor installation comes at an estimated cost of $1 million over five years, funded by reallocating existing resources.
The AI-powered sensors, about the size of a laptop, will be placed on streetlight poles. They’ll use computer vision to identify and count road users instantly, storing only anonymous data.
The Council will update the sensor locations on its website, with clear signage to indicate sensor presence. The initial roll-out will focus on the Central Business District, targeting essential areas and cycleways.