Hamburg in Germany has unveiled plans to deploy more than 2,000 thermal imaging cameras on traffic lights and streetlamps by late-2020 to collect anonymous, real-time traffic data.

Under the plans, the thermal cameras will be installed across the city to help improve traffic control and long-term planning.

As part of the automated traffic volume recording project, motorised traffic will be counted at 420 intersections.

Thermal imaging cameras on 40 streetlamps will provide information on cycling for the Hamburg bicycle traffic counting network project.

Part of the Hamburg senate’s ITS strategy, both projects are securing €12.4m in funds from the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s Clean Air emergency programme.

Hamburg Verkehrsanlagen technical managing director Volker Rech: “The thermal imaging cameras will make high-quality and quantitative digital images of traffic automatically available for the first time around the clock and in all areas.”

The thermal technology being used does not collect personal information about a person’s face or their car’s registration plates. It only collects data about the number and type of vehicles passing the monitoring point.

Nearly 85 of the proposed 420 intersections have already been equipped with two to eight thermal imaging cameras each.

Hamburg chief digital officer Christian Pfromm said: “Traffic can be controlled more precisely with an adequate, up-to-date data basis. Road management can be improved, and construction sites can be better coordinated. This benefits the environment and local residents.

“Thermal imaging technology allows us to meet our demand for the best possible protection of personal data. People are the center of digitisation for us.”