High tech police to tackle traffic offenses, congestion

New solutions will be focused on preventing and punishing offenses from pedestrians and bike riders.

Shanghai traffic police will introduce more technology-driven solutions to tackle traffic offenses and congestion on the roads, the city's police said on Thursday.

The new solutions will be focused on preventing and punishing offenses from pedestrians and bike riders.

At busy crossroads, pedestrians and motorists often get in the way of each other, especially during rush hours.

To address this problem, police said they’re experimenting with a piece of technology which can detect pedestrian flows on zebra crossings and remind drivers to stop for them using voices. Pedestrians will also be reminded to cross the street quickly.

Motorists also often drive into the center of an intersection even when there’s a static line of cars already blocking the way. This traffic offense can cause even more congestion, especially when lights change.

Police said they’re working with road navigation apps to send reminders to drivers who’re approaching a congested part of a street and warn them not to block the intersection.

It’s estimated that there are 6 million motorized vehicles and 19 million bikes and e-bikes in Shanghai, a city that daily hosts about 32 million people.

Another part of the new measures will target shared bike users to let them know that their traffic offenses might affect their user credit.

Police said they have been in close cooperation with shared bike companies to enable automatic identity tracking of a traffic offender on a shared bike. The offenses will be collected and conveyed to the companies for them to deduct credit from a user.

Cooperation with shared bike companies also aims to better track each shared bike on the street so that broken and excessive bikes can be removed as soon as possible.

There are already a few traffic police cameras in Shanghai that, equipped with facial recognition technology, can detect bike and e-bike riders who illegally ride the wrong way in a lane, one of the most frequent offenses in non-motor lanes. Police said such cameras will be introduced to more parts of the city in the future.

To address congestion during rush hours, police said they’re transforming traffic lights from simple timers to smart computers which observe and analyze traffic flows to adjust the duration of a red or green light.

Xing Peiyi, head of Shanghai traffic police, said the first such smart light can be found on streets near the Bund — they have enabled a 10-percent increase in traveling speed.

Chen Zhen, vice head of Shanghai Public Security Bureau, said that while rush hour congestion is hard to avoid, police will try their best to at least keep cars moving instead of becoming stuck.

“Residents need to always be prepared to drive no faster than 20 to 30 kilometers per hour during rush hours,” he said.

Police said the daily congestion time on the city’s major elevated roads in urban districts and at major shopping hubs has been reduced by one hour from 2016, and the speed of buses using bus-only lanes during rush hours has doubled.

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