|The Windows-based SeeTec Client can keep an eye on live streams and archive recordings to manage the flow of traffic on demand|
The large number of tourists and the narrow streets in the historical city centre repeatedly cause a traffic overload. To ease the situation, local traffic authorities installed several IP cameras at strategically chosen intersections. The large number of tourists and the narrow streets in the historical city centre repeatedly cause a traffic overload. To ease the situation, local traffic authorities installed several IP cameras at strategically chosen intersections.
By observing the live streams, the officers on duty get a precise overview of the current traffic situation. This way, traffic lights can be controlled efficiently and potential congestions can be cleared at an early stage. As the cityscape didn’t change too much in the previous years, this solution had been sufficient so far, however with the recent construction of a two-storey tunnel to help with the traffic flow in the city centre, the traffic concept is changed substantially. This also resulted in the need to extend the video system.
One of the requirements for the future video solution was to create a centrally managed system – every individual component should be controlled from one point. In addition, the tunnel construction works should be streamed over the internet. By providing recordings of every step of the construction works the city council aimed for an open communication towards the citizens to avoid displeasure and public mischief.
SeeTec - IP-based video management solution
The Maastricht city council came upon the Dutch installer Arkasis B.V to implement the system. Together they made the decision to use cameras from Axis Communications, the worldwide leading manufacturer of IP cameras, and the flexible and open SeeTec software solution.
Providing a modular approach the IP-based video management solution convinced both end customer and installer. A wide range of modules can be added to the core software creating an individual and scalable system. Third-party applications can be connected via interfaces to be operated with the SeeTec software. This way the staff uses just one system to keep an overview of the situation and to be able to react to incidents at any time.
Integrated video surveillance and access control systems
The software is used by the municipality’s traffic experts. For this reason a control room has been set up in the city council. Using the Windows-based SeeTec Client they can keep an eye on live streams and archive recordings to manage the flow of traffic on demand. This substantially simplifies the handling and reduces response times.
However, the images can also be retrieved from other locations or workplaces. The teams can access the live and archive recordings even outside office hours or while they are on the road using mobile edge devices like tablets or smartphones.
Even though transparency towards the citizens is a main factor for the use of the new system, it is important to protect the privacy of traffic participants. If an accident happens, the online broadcasting can be stopped at once to avoid the distribution of shocking pictures. However, the videos are still displayed on the SeeTec client in the control room. In the past, legal arguments have often occurred between city council and car drivers, who tried to drive through the historical city centre, which is forbidden to unauthorised individuals. Retractable bollards now make sure, that access is only granted to authorised vehicles. In addition traffic lights are mounted near the bollards. An application particularly developed for this purpose connects the traffic light with the camera, which is aligned to the bollard. By using this interface the systems knows which colour the traffic lights have been showing at which time of the day. This information is displayed as text on the screen. With the help of this video footage the question of guilt can be answered quickly and precisely in case of a legal dispute.
Due to the transmission of live images the communication with the public could be extended and improved. Numerous clicks on the public website show deep interest of the Maastricht citizens in the current construction work. Responsible traffic expert Roger Chambille comments on the positive feedback: “We are committed to our citizens. This means in plain language we communicate and accompany our activities with transparency and openness. The construction work of the A2 tunnel is a time-consuming project, which brings circumstances for many residents. Diversions and construction noise are often causing displeasure and resentments. By publishing time lapse movies and images on our website we kept our citizens up to date about every progress. This way the relationship between citizens and city council has been strengthened a lot.”