Citizens do their own traffic measuring
Measuring traffic until now was limited in time, expensive and made no difference between sorts of vehicles. This week inhabitants of Kessel-Lo (south of Louvain, centre of Belgium) started their own measurements. They’re using a small do-it-yourself pack called Telraam (literally ‘counting window’).
Telraam is a microcomputer annex camera which is fixed at a window on the street-side of a house. There it gathers non-stop traffic data. The project is a collaboration between Transport & Mobility Leuven (TML), Mobiel 21 and Waanz.in.
Thanks to Telraam, citizens can identify and count the passing traffic in their own street. The system differentiates between cars, trucks, buses, bikers and pedestrians.
Kris Van Herle from TML: “Telraam is a combination of a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and a low resolution camera. Via the internet all data are gathered in one central data bank. So it is able to count traffic permanently (only during the day) and in detail.”
100 counting locations
250 families in the Kessel-Lo municipality registered voluntarily for Telraam at the end of last year. Finally 100 different counting locations were determined. During workshops at the end of March, testers got explanations and technical feedback.
As of the 27th of March the counting stations started to feed data and since the beginning of April everybody can check the results at https://www.telraam.net. After the test the results will be analyzed. The initiators want to roll out the technology and the related service to other cities and communities.
Citizens want to have their say in mobility issues. Knowing what and where the problems are is crucial, so you have to measure. But until now measuring was expensive.
“That’s where Telraam comes in”, says Elke Franchois from Mobiel 21. “Our technology is simple and affordable, so citizens can measure themselves. With the help of experts from TML we look for answers afterwards. What do the data tell us? Where can we intervene? What effect do these interventions have?
Reliable information is key to solving problems like cut-through traffic, air pollution and unsafe traffic situations. Michel Binnard, one of the participants: “I’m in because Telraam can procure me the necessary data confirming (or not) a feeling that I have about the traffic in my street.”