An increasing number of cities are joining the initiative to dedicate more urban spaces to the enjoyment of their inhabitants, creating more sustainable environments with a better quality of life for citizens. To this end, plans are designed and measures are adopted that aim to restrict the circulation of cars for the benefit of pedestrians and public transport.
Many urban centres of our geography have seen the value of this measure that allows them to preserve and promote their historical heritage as the main tourist attraction and engine of economic development. The city centre as a place where the identity signs of the city are concentrated, thus recovering its essence by dedicating its public space to the promenade, shopping… in short, creating cities with more a more pleasant style, without noise and with less pollution to visit walking or by bike every day.
To implement the restrictions of passage to these areas of limited access, it is necessary to install a surveillance system capable of recognising license plates of any motor vehicle and relating it to authorised lists to allow only the passage of residents or public services.
In recent years, the Spanish city of Huesca has been immersed in a very ambitious PMUS Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan whose objective was to build a high-quality, healthy, safe and more accessive city model, as the basis for future growth and development.
The work and effort of all these years is beginning to bear fruit and the figures speak for themselves; in the pedestrian zone, the number of pedestrians increased by 53% and 38% by bicycle transport, which shows that citizens move in a more sustainable and healthy way.
The jump that has taken the city has been valued at European level by different organisations, and therefore is part of the international network TIDE and the Spanish Network of Smart Cities RECI. In recognition of its work to promote and promote sustainable mobility, the municipality of Huesca received the Bronze Medal at the 2014 SEMS Awards (in the category of cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants) convened by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
Among the different areas of action contemplated in the Sustainable Urban Mobility plan, the pedestrianisation of the historic centre was a key point and a top priority of the project that required a rethinking of an area of 32ha that should be controlled to allow access only to authorised vehicles. The circulatory plan of the area consisted of nine entry points and eight exit points. Each transit had specific peculiarities, which forced the intercommunication of the observation points to interpret input and output information, according to dates and times. All information should be centralised under a single control point to perform global data management and allow the processing of authorised lists.
To guarantee access control to the pedestrian zone and to ensure compliance with the regulations at all times, a surveillance system capable of reading the license plates automatically and in real time was required. The solution chosen and deployed was Traffic Eye from Lector Vision. To record the traffic rolled 24 hours a day, 18 cameras were placed at the strategic points. These control units are responsible for reading the license plates and collecting data of place, date and time. Intercom between computers and central server is done through TCP / IP, which allows access to the recording units at any time to modify their configuration, operation and download data.
After a period of testing, in January 2014, the Traffic Eye reading system was put into operation in the pedestrian zone of Huesca. Since then and until today the benefits of this measure along with other actions that were contemplated in the PMUS plan, such as public transport, parking, and the bike lane, have helped to significantly improve the quality of life in the city, creating a culture of sustainable mobility among its citizens.