Melbourne’s smart city comes to life.
NEW AI SYSTEM
One of the busiest roads in Melbourne will host a brand-new traffic-management system, it has been revealed, with new state-of-the-art technology designed to ‘reduce traffic jams and improve road safety’.
The “Intelligent Corridor” is situated at Nicholson Street, Carlton, and has been launched by the University of Melbourne, Austrian technology firm Kapsch TrafficCom and the Victorian Department of Transport.
The new system will cover a 2.5km stretch of Nicholson St, between Alexandra and Victoria Parades.
The ‘Intelligent Corridor’ “will use sensors, cloud-based AI, machine-learning algorithms, predictive models and real-time data capture to improve traffic management, with the goal of easing congestion, improving road safety for cars, pedestrians and cyclists, and reducing emissions from clogged traffic.“
The sensors “will connect and monitor all parts of the transport environment,” according to the press release.
The ‘Intelligent Corridor’ uses global technology firm Kapsch TrafficCom’s corridor-management platform EcoTrafiX and will collect before-and-after data to demonstrate the Corridor’s effectiveness.
“Its performance will be fine-tuned to improve outcomes on an ongoing basis over the next three years, thus providing important evidence for implementation in other cities.”
Safety metrics will be incorporated in real-time control of traffic signals, derived from traffic-safety software developed by Advanced Mobility Analytics Group.
The initiative is supported by a $2 million Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant, with contributions from the University of Melbourne and industry partners.
ARC acting chief executive officer Judi Zielke said:
“The University of Melbourne, Kapsch TrafficCom and the Department of Transport Victoria, through their cooperation and linkages across disciplines, have taken an idea to reduce traffic congestion to a real-life, real-time application.”
Private collaborations between government and ‘industry partners’ continuing to transform your life.
Did the people of Melbourne get a say in this project?
Yet another node in the ever-growing smart city infrastructure system developing here in Australia.
SMART ROADS FOR A SMART CITY
The “Melbourne as a smart city” project has already seen the establishment of open data platforms that have almost 100 unique data sets that are available for anyone to access and use.
Through an open data platform, you can view real time city data at any time.
Current programs of the technologies include “emerging technology testbeds”, “open innovation competition”, “free public wi-fi systems” and “pedestrian counting system” to track ‘anonymous’ numbers of individual movements.
This new traffic management system is just the latest integration of an already-developing system.
Leveraging different types of traffic sensors already installed by the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES), the team will fine-tune the Intelligent Corridor over the next three years.
“AIMES is the world’s first and largest ecosystem for testing emerging connected transport technologies at large scale in complex urban environments.”
It incorporates over 100km of road network in Melbourne, bounded by Lygon and Hoddle Streets, and Victoria and Alexandra Parades, and receives support from the Victorian Department of Transport.
The Intelligent Corridor marks a significant new phase, providing a new level of monitoring, with sensors on every intersection and a host of initiatives that will create a world-leading traffic-management system.
Professor Majid Sarvi, AIMES Director and Professor of Transport Engineering at the University of Melbourne, said the Intelligent Corridor will ‘provide a model for cities around the world’.
“In Melbourne alone, 492 people lost their lives in crashes at urban intersections – with more than half of these being pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists – between 2006 and 2019. Our Intelligent Corridor will use the latest technology to better manage traffic and make our roads safer for everyone,” Professor Sarvi said.
‘Safety and security’.
It is always used as a justification tool to roll new technologies out.
Matthew McLeish, TrafficCom executive vice-president for Asia Pacific, said:
“From connected vehicles to autonomous driving to integrated mobility management, this technology is laying the groundwork for a sustainable and congestion-free future, using the very best in multi-modal demand management technologies such as the Kapsch EcoTrafix platform.”
Once again, we see the driverless/electric vehicle push directly linked to smart initiatives.
Niloo Karimi, director of signal services with the Victorian Department of Transport, said the Intelligent Corridor was an important and exciting step for Melbourne. “The City has faced an increasing volume of road users … leading to delays and an increasing number of accidents,” she said.
Interesting that an ‘increase’ in traffic is used as a reason to celebrate.
Hasn’t the state of Victoria suffered a decrease in population by 43,000 during the pandemic period?
Wasn’t traffic halted for 500+ days under the world’s longest state-enforced lockdown?
“Now, academic researchers, industry and government will draw on connected transport technology to explore better outcomes and solve issues of safety and congestion to create a safer, cleaner and smarter transport future for Melbourne.”
By implementing smart city technology and successfully leveraging the vast amounts of data which myriad sensors can produce will signify a new-age for urban planners and local authorities worldwide.
‘Big Brother is Watching, Melbourne’.
MELBOURNE TECH DYSTOPIA
Australia’s move towards a biometric dystopia is expanding without consultation with the public.
As we have been covering, police and councils in Australian cities have begun integrating facial recognition systems with CCTV camera networks, as other jurisdictions look to introduce the same.
State governments have been detailing plans to upgrade local regions with advanced biometric capabilities, however new information is emerging that has concerned many privacy advocates.
An 2019 investigation revealed (article here) that Melbourne authorities are also part of a plan to control sophisticated CCTV mechanisms across the country — having already activated their system.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman told reporters the force already “utilises facial recognition technology for investigative and intelligence-gathering purposes” across a network of 138 surveillance cameras.
Furthermore, authorities in both cities “did not formally notify the public when it was activated”.
Who makes these cameras?
There were concerns in 2019 that the newly-appointed Chinese owners might exploit operational powers in Australia, which includes 96 CCTV cameras in Melbourne’s CBD and security operations, at everything from Westfield shopping centres, to Glencore mines and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Securecorp’s clients include the Defence Department, the MCG, the Phillip Island motorcycle Grand Prix, the Melbourne Museum, Melbourne universities and councils, including the City of Melbourne.
Piece by piece, Australia’s social credit system is slowly being rolled out.
Facial recognition, number plate recognition, cameras to see if you are on your phone, smart traffic management, data collection, AI algorithms.
What a time to be alive.
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