RADAR is among the tools which will be used by council chiefs to monitor the flow of traffic and people to help keep Warwickshire’s town centres Covid safe.
Warwickshire County Council (WCC) is using road-user data collection equipment to gather information which will help in decision-making on town centre schemes, both as more business open up post lockdown and in the future.
The data will enable assessment and analysis of the likes of traffic, cycle and pedestrian flows, the number of people in locations such as shopping and tourist areas, and to ensure social distancing measures as part of the economic Covid recovery.
The data will be collected using a mix of automatic traffic counters and radar devices attached to street furniture or in tubing laid across a road.
A new radar device will also be used in some areas. This uses video feeds to detect, classify and analyse road users. These devices can count pedestrians and cyclists, assess road user movements and provide social distancing analysis.
But WCC stress it does not collect or record personal data or utilise facial recognition technology.
The devices will initially be deployed in towns including Alcester, Leamington, Kenilworth, Rugby, Stratford and Warwick.
WCC transport and planning spokesman Coun Jeff Clarke said: “Since the town centre roadspace schemes were launched, we have repeatedly said they are open to adaptation and that we were keen to engage with local businesses to see if we could address any issues they may have had.
“We are committed to supporting our town centre businesses at this very difficult time and will be as flexible as we can in supporting their requests.
“But the public’s health has to be the priority and guide whatever action we take. If there are areas where social distancing is not possible, we need to know where that is and consider how we should respond. This data will guide that response.
“It’s important to have a clear and full picture of how people are returning to town centres and using the road network. Monitoring the use of town centre roadspace will help us to work with all local partners and give us the evidence base that we need to make the best possible decisions.”
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covid19roadlayouts for full details of all schemes.