Home / Features / Kerbside technology must help commuters cross the city not just the road

Kerbside technology must help commuters cross the city not just the road


Whether the daily commute is on foot, by train, car, bus or cycle, or more usually a modal mix, transport planners are looking to optimise ‘front door to desk’ journey time. Keeping people moving by minimising bottlenecks and stop-start traffic helps reduce emissions, improves safety and makes urban living more pleasurable.

A key piece in the urban transport jigsaw is traffic and pedestrian control. Allowing pedestrians to cross safely while reducing traffic queues and keeping vehicle flow smooth is acknowledged to be better for the environment, as well as minimising frayed tempers. But getting the optimal balance between pedestrians and vehicles, responding to fluctuations in demand and ensuring safety as crossings become bigger is an ongoing challenge, and requires enhanced kerbside technology to get it right.

City planners demand both raw data and video images to feed their control room systems, along with on-the-street traffic and pedestrian control devices that can autonomously help manage traffic, pedestrians and crossings. They also need kerbside technology that will connect by IP into their network to fulfil smart city requirements such as dynamic real-time control: the ability to change flows – traffic and human – to mitigate the effects of maintenance, incidents and events, for example. The need to both see and count many people, for similar reasons, has been discussed for years and will become a part of planner’s requirements very soon. So those engineering solutions for the smart city had better have a vision of the future that includes ‘smart’ traffic and pedestrian control technology – and product road maps that deliver it.

Launched at this year’s Traffex, the new AGD 645 Traffic & Pedestrian Control Detector is an optical platform that makes crossing safer and more efficient. It detects pedestrians within a larger zone than has previously been possible – thanks to powerful 3D HD imaging that, because it also detects in higher resolution, allows for discrimination between objects that matter such as people, pushchairs and bicycles – and those that don’t – like, say, litter or puddles. This not only makes it more efficient and effective now; it also makes the 645 future-proof and ready for ‘super crossings’. Depending on the size of the crossing, any number of units can be deployed for a full picture and optimal control.

Enhanced information that can be processed and used to shape outcomes – whether by automated systems or control room teams – is driving the future of ITS. With the AGD 645, which is IP-enabled, the information collected by the device is immediately available to controllers via their ITS systems. Not only does this improve speed and accuracy of information transmission, it also allows control room teams to interrogate individual devices quickly and in real time. The AGD 645 doesn’t just tell you what’s going on at the kerbside – it shows you, with real-time video. Crossing control has never been easier, and the holy grail of smoother traffic flow, enhanced safety and fewer emissions is closer than ever.

When we spoke to local authorities at Traffex, they weren’t just impressed by the outstanding functional capabilities of the 645. They were also keen on the ease of deployment that comes with it through AGD’s new WiFi Touch-setup, which is a real game changer. This simple, three-step process allows installers to: name the device, select the required zone, and click to calibrate, using a smart phone or tablet. This allows for safe, easy installation of multiple units from the comfort and safety of a vehicle. Engineers can reconfigure wait zones just as easily if varying pedestrian flows require street furniture changes, for example.

The AGD 645 is a key element in our forward-looking traffic and pedestrian control vision. A vision that combines optical and radar technology to help make travel safer, greener and more efficient. And that helps traffic and pedestrians ‘cross the city, not just the road’.

Ian Hind, Commercial Director,  AGD Systems Limited

Ian Hind, Commercial Director,
AGD Systems Limited