‘Telraam’ to measure Bierbeek’s through-traffic problem?
The community of Bierbeek (Belgium) wanted to install ANPR cameras to discourage cut-through traffic, but the neighboring municipalities of Leuven and Lubbeek had opposed to the measure. Maybe an ‘abacus’ or ‘counting frame’ – telraam in Dutch – could help…?
The city of Aarschot recently introduced a so-called ‘counting frame’, a digitized system with sensors and a camera to measure traffic in real-time. Citizens can fix it on their window and monitor traffic in their street. The sensors count the number of cars, trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians in both directions.
All data are registered and then sent to a centralized computer. The counting results are available for everybody at any time via the website. Local authorities in Aarschot bought eight such cameras and gave them to voluntary citizens. “We want to prove in black-and-white that there are far too many cars in the streets of Aarschot,” said Betty Kiesekoms, councilwoman for political party Groen.
Aarschot is not the only municipality where the ‘counting frames’ are used. Hasselt recently started using them for reducing cut-through traffic, and Transport & Mobility Leuven (TML), a study bureau in Leuven, now proposes Bierbeek to introduce it to solve the discussion about the forbidden ANPR cameras. Bierbeek wanted to use ANPR cameras to fine cut-through traffic as from 1 September, but Minister Liesbeth Homans foiled the community’s plans because the measure exceeded the municipality’s borders
“A counting frame will not solve the cut-through traffic problem,” says Kris Vanherle of TML, “but it objectifies the discussion because it maps the actual traffic situation. Our test project in Kessel-Lo, where 250 families volunteered to participate, showed that citizens tend to over- or underestimate the present traffic. ‘Telraam’ is more effective and also cheaper than other existing systems, so citizens have no other option than to ‘adopt’ it. The objective data then can be used as a base to rely on for a better policy.”
Meanwhile, Bierbeek’s Mayor, Johan Vanhulst (CD&V), thinks Telraam is not an alternative for the ANPR cameras, but it can provide useful information, he agrees. “But it’s of no use to ban cut-through traffic,” he says.