Wellington, New Zealand Implements Cutting-Edge Traffic Monitoring System

The city of Wellington, New Zealand is installing a new traffic monitoring network using sensors from the traffic monitoring firm, VivaCity. These sensors, which use artificial intelligence, are designed to track the flow of traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians, with the goal of providing ]insights into the usage of roads and infrastructure. The council plans to use the data across various groups, such as: transport and infrastructure planning; bike network planning; community services; the waterfront team; the behavior change team; and Let’s Get Wellington Moving

The previous system for monitoring traffic relied on manual counting, electronic cycle counters, and commercial e-scooter ride data. Wellington’s City Council states that having 24/7 monitoring will enable it to make more accurate assessments of how people are moving through the city and making use of bike paths. It will also allow real time monitoring of the impact of changes made to the transport network, and take into account changes in traffic flow due to seasons or major events.

VivaCity has assured the city’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner that its technology is designed to track behavioral changes in an anonymized manner. The sensors do not use facial or license plate recognition software, and all data processing happens within the device to prioritize privacy and data protection.

Installment of the new sensor network is expected to start later this month at an estimated cost of $1 million over five years.  It is funded by repurposing existing funds from the previous manual methods used to collect data.

“As the city grows, use of space and transport become more vital to the liveability of Wellington, this kind of information is invaluable for planning and designing our future,” mayor Tory Whanau said.  “These VivaCity sensors gather data around the clock with a high degree of accuracy and anonymity, providing a much more detailed picture of how our public spaces are being used.”