News | 7 April 2016

Central and local government work together to smarten up Wellington’s roads

Wellington City Council and Land Information New Zealand are working together with NEC on a trial of new traffic counting technology in Wellington City.

Mayor with Hon Louise Upston at NEC.
Mayor with Hon Louise Upston at NEC

“We are working with international technology company NEC to produce accurate counts of various modes of transport including the direction of travel by cars, bikes, trucks and buses on our roads,” she says. 

The Minister for Land Information, Hon Louise Upston, and the Mayor of Christchurch City, Leanne Dalziel, visited NEC’s Wellington lab this week escorted by Mayor Wade-Brown, to view the Wellington traffic mode counting projects.

“These projects will give us better information about how our assets are being used and will lead to more efficient asset management,” says Mayor Wade-Brown.

Council and Land Information NZ are also working with NEC on a Smart Backbone project to standardise and collect data from different sensors across the city.

Mayor Wade-Brown says it is intended to make the data publically available once the projects have progressed beyond proof of concept stage.

“We are also addressing the most efficient way to deploy sensors by installing sensing ‘hubs’ to reduce the cost and time to connect new sensing equipment,” she says.

The sensors will collect anonymous data recognising only the shape difference between cars, trucks, bikes, and pedestrians.

“No identifying information will be collected,” she says, “We are simply counting different types of traffic crossing a given intersection or piece of road. Our partners have committed to the privacy values New Zealanders hold dear,” she says.

NEC New Zealand Managing Director, Leonard Dench, says the sensing platform is a great example of New Zealand innovation enabled by global support. 

“The sensor hub is built in our Wellington lab and we are now adding that to the global offering with the support of NEC group,” he says. “We’re proud to implement local innovations in Wellington to help improve city services, community wellbeing and the environment.”

The projects are part of Land Information’s Smart Cities Programme, and involve Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch cities working on jointly funded sensing projects.

The Mayor and NEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2014 focused on leveraging Wellington talent and NEC global technology to facilitate Wellington’s Towards 2040: Smart Capital goals.