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Making Highways Safer and Smarter: How can Cameras and Analytics help

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According to the latest report by the World Bank, India constitutes 11% of the global road accident deaths. The report titled ‘Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society’, highlights that about 4.5 lakh road crashes occur per annum, in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives. These figures indicate that India leads the world in terms of road accidents. However, this loss of human lives has its toll on the well-being of the nation and our economy at large.

It acts as a reminder that our roads and highways need urgent improvements. As security and safety have always been priority, both the state and the central governments need to work for the modernization of the roads and highways. Motor Vehicles Amendment Act of 2019 can be seen as a satisfactory step in this direction. But, a lot more needs to be done for the advancement and betterment of the existing highways.

India is witnessing a huge transformation in its infrastructure. It is investing a major chunk of its economy in the development and modernization projects across the country. And, it is a known fact that highways connecting major cities are an important part of the development projects. Besides transportation, highways also act as a contributor to economic activity. So, it becomes quite necessary to equip them with advanced surveillance and other technologies. After all, making transportation more secure, safe, and transparent could streamline the economic activity as well while paving the way for novel concepts such as Logistics 4.0.

Having said that, ensuring traffic safety and making the highways smarter is a challenging task. But, with a technology-driven approach, it can be achieved. The adoption of Artificial-Intelligence-based video technology can make a sizable difference to highway traffic management. This is a smart way of traffic surveillance as it uses security cameras and analytics for improved monitoring in real-time. A large number of cities are using them as a part of their traffic safety management system already and observing their road-related fatalities going down.

There are several ways in which smart AI-based cameras can be helpful. These are specially designed to capture the videos and make them ready for scrutiny. They not only detect accidents and road closures in real-time but can even identify potential threats such as potholes and unwanted objects on high-speed roads.

They can further enhance the process of collecting toll by using automated license checking methods and, therefore, prevent traffic jams at toll stations. These advanced cameras are also being increasingly installed due to their added advantage of improved data storage, collection, and retrospective analysis. The video cameras are also being connected with the traffic signals for smart pedestrian crossings. Such cameras can assess how much time would be taken by a person on foot while crossing the road. These improvisations in the pre-existing surveillance methods are making the highways hi-tech for the benefit of the masses.

Analytics plays an important role in making the highways safe and smart for the entire country. Today, advanced video analytics has also become extremely cost-effective owing to the global R&D in the space. This analytics technology collects wide-ranging data from even high-traffic regions while ensuring zero blind spots. The automation of the process enables the availability of traffic statistics to make quick and informed decisions. All of this paves the way for robust enforcement of traffic rules and safety protocols. It also helps in swift response post-accidents.

With the continuous evolution of AI-based technology, video surveillance analytics are proving crucial in highway safety. Speed violations of the vehicles can be detected seamlessly. Further, video analytics technology is being transformed to detect whether the traffic conditions are normal or not. In this way, any appropriate measures such as traffic diversion can be driven at the right time. It further improves the capability to quickly identify an accident or potential ones, thereby preventing the loss of life.

There are numerous underlying benefits of the wider adoption of cameras and analytics in highway development projects. One such benefit of prime consideration is that it could save a lot of lives. Besides reducing the number of fatal accidents and crashes, these technological advancements can enable strict enforcement of highway safety and security rules. Their economic advantages can also not be ignored both from the perspective of the government and the common masses.