Newcastle takes traffic monitoring mobile

Newcastle City Council has deployed the UK's first traffic management system to monitor live traffic cameras via mobile phones.

The authority's Planning and Transportation Department is using the new system to link its staff to its network of 60 CCTV traffic cameras in real time. The aim is to achieve better visibility of traffic conditions in order to facilitate a more speedy resolution of traffic problems as they happen.

It also plans to expand the hosted CCTV-to-mobile service to other key public services, including the police, bus companies and traffic wardens across the city.

The new Qeeps system, from UK provider Vemotion Interactive, will connect to the council's digital video recording (DVR) cameras. These monitor trunk roads and intersections, via internet protocol (IP) connections, and receive both real-time or recorded video footage. This uses a specially patented version of the H.264 encoding standard for low-bandwidth, GPRS-enabled authorised devices without the need for any additional onsite equipment.

It will integrate with the council's existing Traffic Control Centre, allowing for key members of the planning and transportation department to maintain a vital flow of information, even out of hours.

"The Qeeps service has been very effective at maximising the potential of the system we already have in place," explains Peter Wightman, group manager Traffic and Transport Department, Newcastle City Council.

Qeeps has proved particularly useful at weekends and evenings and facilitates a better degree of responsiveness to any traffic incident throughout the city. "Qeeps is powerful and flexible enough to offer the same functions as if the operator was in the control room." Wightman added.

Andy Graham, a director of accredited Qeeps installer Barrier Surveillance, which deployed Newcastle's system, said: "Installing and configuring Qeeps to work with the existing CCTV was very straightforward. There was no impact on services during installation and the department was able to connect to Qeeps using their mobile phones immediately."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.