Did You Know? Traffic Monitoring Systems Need These Devices


The world contains more and more people, most of whom choose urban or suburban life. There’s also a trend toward more vehicle ownership, as people have two, three or four cars, trucks or SUVs per family.

These facts add up to more traffic every year on highways that often are already crowded.

The two main avenues to alleviating this are:


  • More infrastructure
  • More efficient traffic management on existing roads and highways

Adding infrastructure is expensive, disruptive to existing flow, has long lead times, and uses precious space. Anything we can do to make better use of our existing highway systems can yield immediate results at a lower cost without disrupting traffic or expanding highway footprints.

All that leads us to explore what can be done to accomplish better traffic monitoring systems. These systems are crucial tools for getting more cars to their destinations in less time. Without the data generated by good monitoring, it would be impossible to decide what needs to be done to improve traffic flow.

A tool that will figure prominently in this discussion is the ANPR camera. Adaptive Recognition is a company that’s been at the forefront of this industry since 1991 and continues to advance plate-reading technology.

Why Implement Traffic Monitoring Systems?

To be able to improve traffic flow, we must study

  • The causes of traffic chokepoints
  • The areas where accidents occur more frequently
  • The number of cars passing critical checkpoints (spots leading to the above occurrences) in one hour at various times of the day and season
  • Average speeds of vehicles approaching critical checkpoints and the way speeds change approaching them.

Conducting these studies requires data. Much of it may be available from existing speed monitoring, toll collecting, and other systems. Where information is lacking, it may be possible to add functions to existing monitoring systems to collect it. It may be possible to move existing monitors to collect more useful information without impairing their primary purpose. As a last resort, we can add additional monitors.

The following sections will discuss how we might use existing systems to gather data, and what new monitors may be required.

Speed-Monitoring ANPR Cameras

These cameras already monitor speed, which is important to control to prevent accidents. Besides the personal cost of injury and vehicle damage, accidents cause disruptions in traffic flow, effectively reducing the capacity of a highway. 

Adding vehicle counting to speed cameras and determining where chokepoints begin to form can make these cameras useful information-gatherers for authorities in deciding what can be done to improve traffic flow. When we improve traffic flow, we increase the capacity of a highway, the whole point of traffic monitoring systems.

ANPR Cameras Used in Road Tolling

In their role of eliminating toll booths, ANPR cameras used in tolling systems make a massive contribution to traffic flow compared with when cars had to stop or slow to a crawl to pay tolls.

With a modification of their software, it should be easy to count vehicles and determine how the traffic density varies through the day or seasonally. This information is helpful to traffic-monitoring authorities in considering what can be done to improve traffic flow. Examining these data over more extended periods can help project future infrastructure needs.

ANPR Cameras as Input to Other Systems

Spacecoast Transportation Planning Organization has conducted significant research on the value of city-wide coordination of traffic signals and other modern technologies to improve traffic flow. As they point out, these systems can smooth traffic flow, saving travelers time and reducing accidents.

ANPR cameras already deployed for other purposes can provide much or all of the data input to such innovative traffic monitoring systems. Pedestrian monitors, Bluetooth communication with and between drivers, drones and other tools can enhance the capabilities of these traffic monitoring systems.

Hungary has taken parts of this concept one step further by implementing a nationwide traffic monitoring system. This system has reduced fatal accidents, fatalities and severe injuries by 10-20%. With accidents reduced and traffic monitoring improved, there’s no doubt this system has improved traffic flow as well, adding capacity to the system with minimum capital cost compared with adding infrastructure.

As the world houses continuing increases in the number of vehicles, especially in urban areas where traffic density already often overwhelms infrastructure, moving cars with greater efficiency becomes more critical to the quality of life.

There are two ways to increase road capacity - adding lanes or new highways or improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure.

Adding to the physical plant is expensive, disruptive and environmentally undesirable. Traffic monitoring systems can reduce accidents and improve traffic flow, so we make better use of existing facilities. Where adding physical facilities is unavoidable, they can help project the most efficient infrastructure additions.

Central components in monitoring systems are ANPR cameras. Adaptive Recognition is an industry leader in providing the most capable and flexible plate reading cameras in the business. To learn more and discuss your traffic monitoring needs with their experts, check out their website.

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