Getting Children Back To School Safely

The Department of Transport has recommended that, as part of the re-opening process, pupils, staff and parents should be encouraged to walk or cycle to school as an alternative to public transport where it is safe to do so. However, whilst this may be a realistic option for some, there will also be an increase in car usage for longer journeys. Many councils are now adopting School Street closures to create safer spaces for walking, cycling and playing as well as to reduce air pollution.

Enforcing School Street Closures
After carrying out local consultations, councils install signs to notify drivers that these streets can only be accessed by cyclists and pedestrians at the displayed times. Exemptions apply to residents, businesses and blue badge holders requiring access in these zones. Non-exempt vehicles that enter the closed streets during the peak times are identified by Videalert’s automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Video evidence is transmitted to Videalert’s hosted digital video platform where evidence packs can be viewed and validated prior to sending to the council’s back office system for the issuance of penalty charge notices (PCN). To reduce the number of appeals, all PCN recipients can view still photographs and video footage of their alleged offences over the internet.

Alternative Measures
In 2013, Videalert pioneered the use of its own video analytics software with CCTV to enforce parking contraventions on school keep clear markings which were designed to provide drivers with greater visibility of possible dangers as well as giving pedestrians a better view of the road in both directions. This solution was developed to improve the safety of children and other pedestrians in these zones which are widely ignored by parents at the beginning and end of each school day. Videalert now has cameras installed at over 250 systems school sites nationally.

This system automatically captures video evidence and the number plates of vehicles stopping in these zones without any manual intervention. Importantly, it only captures vehicles that actually commit offences by being stationary in the defined ‘watch area’ and exceed the ’watch time’. Video evidence packs are automatically generated and transmitted to the council for review before any PCNs are processed or generated.

Mobile Enforcement Vehicles (MEV) can also be used to enforce these zones. Videalert provides councils with the widest range of vehicles to meet their specific requirements. As well as providing traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicles, Videalert offers a flexible choice of alternative solutions including hybrid and fully electric MEVs. These vehicles are multi-purpose enabling councils to enforce a wide range of parking and moving traffic contraventions as well as for traffic management and modelling studies utilising the captured VRM data.

As part of Marston Holdings, these important school safety applications are key elements of the group-wide portfolio of design, build and enforce solutions.

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