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Video data being collected at 10 Calgary intersection to help improve safety

The City of Calgary is using video analytics at 10 Calgary intersections to provide insight into how to make them safer.

It’s part of a project done in collaboration with Aviva Canada and MicroTraffic, a Winnipeg startup, after Calgary was one of five cities awarded a portion of $200,000 to collect data.

MicroTraffic’s artificial intelligence system collects video information on collisions and near misses. It uses predictive technology to help determine how best to prevent future problems. Cameras are mounted at these intersections to collect the data.

Data collection began in October and will continue to Dec. 31, according to Aviva. Data will be analyzed and recommendations made by Jan. 31, 2021.

Joanna Domarad, traffic safety engineer with the City of Calgary, said they use data at a lot of locations around the city that figure out why collisions happen. But, because pedestrian collisions happen less frequently, there isn’t always a lot of data on the events leading to these incidents.

“With video analytics, that provides us with that additional information because it looks at conflict, and what specific breakdowns occur in order to lead to them,” she said.

“We have more information on what can work in terms of countermeasures.”

It’s usually a mix of things causing problems in an area, Domarad said.

Calgary’s 10 intersections

1.        Rundlehorn Drive and 52 Street NE
2.        Memorial Drive and 52 Street NE
3.        114 Avenue and 52 Street SE
4.        44 Avenue / Temple Drive and 52 Street NE
5.        Braeside Drive / Oakfield Drive and 24 Street SW
6.        26 Avenue and 52 Street NE
7.        17 Avenue and 4 Street SW
8.        32 Avenue and Shaganappi Trail NW
9.        58 Avenue and Macleod Trail SW
10.    12 Avenue and 8 Street SW

52 Street NE corridor

Half of the intersections being reviewed are along 52 Street NE.

In a 2019 piece, we collected data on pedestrian collisions in Calgary, and the intersections along this stretch showed several incidents.

“These locations we’re seeing concerning numbers of reoccurring high severity collisions, and that’s why we’re focusing on them,” said Domarad.

This area is also slated for the city’s next Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) MAX Line. Design work on that project is approaching. We asked how that would impact the data collected today.

“It is an opportunity for us, because we can pretty much have all the information before that project design goes forward and incorporate a lot of the safety improvements into that project,” Domarad said.

The information provided in the analysis will suggest potential countermeasures. Domarad said that the city has $4.75 million for safety improvements.

But, these projects aren’t guaranteed to get countermeasures. They’re ranked along with other Calgary intersections on a priority list for improvements.

Some upgrades can be made quickly, others will take time, Domarad said.

Domarad said that should countermeasures be put into one of these locations, the cost of further analysis would be covered by the partners.