New digital CCTV system to monitor traffic flow in Aberdeen

A new £300,000 network of digital CCTV and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras including automated alert systems are being installed on key routes around Aberdeen to monitor traffic flow and journey times.

The City Council’s traffic control centre will use the information gathered to help the flow of traffic going in and out of the city particularly at key locations beside the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

This system will comprise of cameras and communications, linked to a central monitoring and control system at the traffic control centre.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “This is a very exciting development for controlling traffic flow around the city as it means operators can be alerted to incidents straight away, or can redirect traffic away from busy areas.

“The benefits to motorists include reduced delays at key locations and a system which is designed to work with the new AWPR routes in and out of the city.

“We’re looking forward to using the new system and realising the benefits for motorists who live, work or are visiting Aberdeen.”

The camera system will provide extensive coverage of all the key routes to quickly identify congestion and allow traffic control centre operators to implement remedial measures. This could include changing traffic signal timings, issuing traffic information on electronic messaging signs, traffic bulletins to media outlets and information on travel web pages. There is the potential to divert traffic on some heavily congested routes onto less congested routes.

Existing cameras are already operational in some locations around the city but these do not provide “real time” footage of traffic conditions, and there are several entry points that have no cameras sited by or near to those points. In addition, traffic control centre operations staff have to rely on Police Scotland to advise of any incidents or issues.

The 16 new CCTV cameras are located at the optimum sites on the road network for monitoring traffic conditions, primarily at the busiest junctions or junctions with the greatest visibility of the corridor and at points where incidents (e.g. accidents, vehicle breakdowns) would have the greatest impact on traffic flow.

The purpose of siting the cameras here is to ensure that staff in the traffic control centre can respond to an incident in “real time”, thereby reducing the impact of delay to road users. Each CCTV camera is also capable of being panned 360 degrees, tilted up and down and zoomed in.

The CCTV cameras are being sited at: A944/Arnhall; A944/Kingswells roundabout; Airport Road/Park and Ride; Dyce Drive/Argyll Place; Dyce Drive/Wellheads Drive; two near Craibstone Park and Ride; Ellon Road/North Donside Road; George Street/Hutcheon Street; King Street/Beach Esplanade; Kingswells Bypass/Prime Four Access; Lang Stracht/Rousay Drive; St Machar Drive/Tillydrone Avenue; Wellington Road/Greenbank Road; Wellington Road/Old Wellington Road; Wellington Road/Souterhead roundabout.

In addition to these CCTV cameras for traffic network monitoring, ACC also intends to install ANPR cameras on key traffic routes in and around Aberdeen for the purpose of journey time monitoring.

The journey time information will be used to alert operators when and where journeys are being delayed, which could indicate incidences on the roads network such as a vehicle collision, breakdown or general congestion.

Use of ANPR will mean the operators will be able to use the CCTV cameras to visually confirm and assess the nature of an event once these cameras have alerted them.

The precise number and location of these ANPR cameras is yet to be decided. It should be emphasised the ANPR cameras are intended solely for network management and not for any enforcement activity.

The first phase deployment for the full back office system, cameras and associated infrastructure cost a total of £300,000, and was installed by Video Watchman Systems.

The funding for the project included £210,000 from Nestrans. Nestrans director Derick Murray said: “We are delighted to help fund the project which is a fantastic development in dynamic traffic management for Aberdeen.”

The scope, purpose and impact of the network and has been assessed against privacy principles and procedures on the operation of CCTV.

Anyone with any queries about the new system can contact trafficCCTV@aberdeencity.gov.uk, 01224 538049, or write to Intelligent Transport Systems, Communities, Housing and Infrastructure, Aberdeen City Council, 74 - 76 Spring Garden, Aberdeen, AB25 1GN.