Vivacity Labs demonstrates streetscape interventions impact across London
Cross River Partnership (CRP), a non-profit and impartial partnership organisation that delivers positive change for London’s residents, businesses and visitors, partnered with ITS (UK) member Vivacity Labs to demonstrate the impact of streetscape interventions across London, as part of its Defra-funded Clean Air Villages 3 (CAV3) programme.
The programme, which aims to reduce congestion and pollution across the capital, took place between April 2020 and March 2021 in 16 different London ‘villages’, where both air pollution and population density levels are high.
Vivacity’s sensors use artificial intelligence and machine learning to capture anonymous traffic counts across a selected ‘count line’. These counts can show the interactions between pedestrians, cyclists and cars, for example. The data is completely anonymised, and each frame of video is deleted immediately after processing. The analysis and reports are then used to enable boroughs to use this monitoring data to support the implementation of future schemes and initiatives.
One of the areas Cross River Partnership and Vivacity monitored is Soho, looking at the impact of Westminster City Council (WCC)’s al fresco dining scheme. From July to October 2020, WCC pedestrianised some of Soho’s streets, which allowed pedestrians to support hospitality businesses whilst reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. CRP worked with WCC to decide the location of the Vivacity sensor, which had two ‘count lines’, showing movements on both Old Compton Street and Dean Street.
The Vivacity monitoring programme allowed WCC to see the impact of their streetscape interventions at a critical time to support hospitality businesses in 2020. The data found that the timing of the outdoor al fresco dining scheme coincided with almost zero cars and a significant rise in pedestrians, alongside a reduction in cars due to the congestion and ultralow emission zones in Soho. One of the sensors is remaining in place until September 2021 to continue to monitor the returning al fresco dining scheme.
Mark Nicholson, CEO at Co-Founder, Vivacity Labs, commented: “As lockdown restrictions decrease, it’s important that we now build on developing our cities, so that they become smarter, safer and cleaner for all. Working with Cross River Partnership has allowed us to support councils in reducing pollution and creating safe streets for pedestrians. We look forward to seeing the continued impact of Vivacity Labs’ technology in providing accurate data insights to improve travel in a safe and sustainable way.”
Fiona Coull, Project Manager, Cross River Partnership, commented: “Our partnership with Vivacity Labs was a fantastic way to support the hospitality sector and ensure that the risk of COVID-19 was as low as possible. Looking ahead, we’re excited for future developments of our cities, as we all work together to lower pollution and make cities safer.”
Vivacity’s sensor data was provided in a real-time dashboard, and CRP’s data analysis and reports for its Clean Air Villages 3 sites enables partners to assess, monitor and evaluate the benefits and costs of active travel, sustainable transport or business support schemes.
(Picture – Vivacity Labs)