Safe Fleet has introduced ClearLane, an Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) system that helps keep dedicated bus lanes clear from violators. The system detects illegally parked and moving vehicles, as well as captures and packages evidence for processing and subsequent ticketing. In doing so, the system keeps bus lanes clear, improves transit commute times, and encourages increased ridership.
Safe Fleet® ClearLane™ is currently in pilot and being tested in cities across the U.S.
The system monitors dedicated bus lanes for infractions, captures evidence, and analyzes the evidence against a city’s business rules to confirm a violation. ClearLane features a combination of purpose-built cameras, innovative thinking, and AI to solve new and emerging challenges.
Most cities are becoming more and more congested. Dedicated bus lanes intended to clear and speed up transit corridors are often bogged down with delivery vehicles, taxis, and personal transportation. Many North American cities average transit speeds below 10 miles per hour. New York City Transit (MTA) averages 8.6 miles per hour. Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA) averages speeds of less than 10 miles per hour on most corridors. The WMATA averages less than five miles per hour downtown during peak periods.
Safe Fleet ClearLane uses two types of bus-mounted cameras, a computer with inertial sensors, a GPS receiver, and a cellular router. Context cameras provide the big picture, recording video of the entire scene and Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) cameras read all vehicle license plates. The context and ALPR cameras work in combination to make intelligent real-time decisions and together they capture license plate details and setting of any vehicle in violation of a posted bus lane restriction.
These cameras are constantly capturing data in search of bus lane violations,” says Dan Pulskamp, VP, transit bus and rail, at Safe Fleet. “If a vehicle is parked in the bus lane, the ClearLane system takes a picture of the vehicle, license plate, and provides a day, time and GPS location stamp of where the offense took place.”
Advanced algorithms help bring a high level of precision to the captured images. Tests conducted in real-world conditions and large sample sizes of several thousand vehicles have resulted in 95% license plate and vehicle detection accuracy. Such low false positive rates, demonstrate the technology is ready for scale in cities worldwide.
Vehicle position detection, inertial location sensors and artificial intelligence modeling help monitor bus position, movement and identify any vehicles blocking the bus lane. Evidence bundles are submitted to the department of transportation for review as part of the city’s policy for citation processing.
In piloting a lane enforcement system along with Select Bus Service (SBS), which includes all-door boarding, and traffic light priority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has increased travel time on specific routes by 10% to 30% and increased customer satisfaction by 10% to 15%. The MTA also reports an increase in ridership on their SBS route M14 by 15% on weekdays and up to 37% on weekends.
Pulskamp believes this technology can be used in other areas.
“We feel this is going to be big,” says Pulskamp. “You can essentially adapt and expand the base technology elements to other use cases such as bike lane enforcement, time restricted parking spots, illegal turns, and parking too close to an intersection, stop sign or bus stop.”
“For now our focus is on keeping bus lanes clear for faster and safer transit commute times, improving the passenger experience and increasing transit ridership, but we are open to the possibilities Safe Fleet ClearLane can address,” states Pulskamp. “This technology is capable of ensuring the tactics city planners employ to ease congestion, improve flow and overall usage, function as they were intended to do, and that’s a good thing.”