More than 2,000 thermal imaging cameras are to be installed on traffic lights and streetlamps in Hamburg by late 2020 to collect anonymous, real time traffic data all over the city to improve the control of traffic and long-term planning. Motorized traffic will be counted at 420 intersections as part of the “Automated Traffic Volume Recording” project. Thermal imaging cameras on 40 streetlamps will provide information on cycling for the “Hamburger Radverkehrszählnetz” (Hamburg Bicycle Traffic Counting Network) project. The data will be made available on the Urban Data Platform Hamburg. Both projects are part of the senate’s strategy for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and are receiving up to EUR 12.4 million in funds from the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s “Clean Air” emergency programme.

Anonymous traffic data for use by public

Volker Rech, Technical Managing Director of Hamburg Verkehrsanlagen GmbH, said: “The thermal imaging cameras will make “high-quality and quantitative digital images of traffic automatically available for the first time around the clock and in all areas.” Christian Pfromm, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Hamburg, added: “Traffic can be controlled more precisely with an adequate, up-to-date data basis. Road management can be improved and construction sites can be better co-ordinated.” This benefits the environment and local residents. “Thermal imaging technology allows us to meet our demand for the best possible protection of personal data. People are the centre of digitization for us,” Pfromm noted.

The technology used collects only information about the number of vehicles by type of vehicle, but cannot collect personal data i.e. about a person’s face or their car registration plates. The data will be available on the Urban Data Platform of the Landesbetriebs Geoinformation und Vermessung (LGV) from late 2019. Residents, urban authorities and (private) companies can then access the data.

Cars, trucks and bikes automatically counted

The Automated Traffic Volume Recording was approved on July 4, 2019. Around 85 of the planned 420 intersections have already been equipped with two to eight thermal imaging cameras each. Traffic is counted fully automated and evaluated. Diverse use scenarios for the data would allow planners to forecast traffic, simulate developments, co-ordinate roadworks sites and control traffic. Police headquarters, traffic portals, navigation manufacturers and app developers could also access the data.

The Hamburg Bicycle Traffic Counting Network will record cycle traffic along bike paths and other key junctions in the city. Thermal imaging cameras in 40 locations will help give a “solid overall picture”. The first cameras are to be installed in autumn 2019.

Source: City of Hamburg, Hamburg News