Pedestrian area access restrictions
The city seeks to reduce the flow of vehicles passing through the pedestrian area by controlling the amount and type of vehicles entering the area through a system of cameras.
Implementing sustainable mobility
A new permit system will be developed for the pedestrian area, with permits issued by category (e.g. residents, deliveries of perishables, deliveries of non-perishable goods, postal services, etc.). Each vehicle holding a permit will be granted access a limited number of times. Ghent will also explore the possibility of giving limited categories the option of purchasing additional fares at a certain price if the vehicle holder has used the allocated number of fares. Any attempt made to access the pedestrian area without a permit or if a vehicle has exceeded the number of allocated fares will result in an access denial.
The number of times per month that a vehicle may enter the pedestrian area depends on the category of the permit. Cameras will record the movements of vehicles accessing the area and automatic number plate reading technology will be used to identify the passing vehicles. If the license plate matches the “white” list of vehicles with valid permits the recorded image will be erased. However, the image of any vehicle that is not on the “white” list will be archived and a fine will be imposed.
This system will help to manage the permit usage instead of merely trying to limit the number of permits issued. By monitoring the time lapse between entry into and exit out of the pedestrian area, or by only giving entry and exit at one determined access point, drivers will no longer be able to use the area as a shortcut to get to the other side of the city. Ghent also wants to relieve police of most of their access duties as currently they have to manually determine whether someone is granted access to the area. An extensive information campaign will also be run to raise awareness of the measure.
The different implementation steps are to:
- Update the feasibility study;
- Prepare the white list;
- Launch the tender;
- Start the test phase of the software application;
- Install two automatic number plate recognition access control points;
- Install a central server for storage of camera images, database of permits and permit issuing;
- Create a back-office for administrative processing of permits;
- Analyse the traffic information;
- Launch a promotion campaign.
Ghent expects the measure will:
- Reduce traffic in the pedestrian area by 25 percent;
- Reduce the total number of motorised vehicles entering the area between the hours of 11.00 and 18.00 by 20 percent;
- Limit emissions in the area; and
- Improve the overall ambience and pedestrian safety in the area.
Outcomes October 2012
2 test camera's are installed at two strategic locations. Data are being resembled for evaluation. This measure is still ongoing, so no final evaluation is done. what we can say are a few reflections on the process:
Strong political support is needed to overcome privacy issues.
Cameras that are checking car movements (who’s driving in and out) is a subject that can cause a lot of resistance of citizens and politicians.
Police should be involved from the beginning of the project
In Ghent the police wasn’t supporting the camera project because of the fact that the main workload remains with the police who happen to be the party requesting to be relieved of all duties dealing with the handling of access to the pedestrian area. In the end the police is the only partner that is allowed to send out fines.
More time should be foreseen for implementation of cameras
The selection of contractor and testing of cameras took more time then planned.