How AI surveillance improves road safety in cities
Road accidents and infringements compromise road safety in the city, AI surveillance can help increase it.
Accidents, injuries, deaths, as well as vehicle infringements compromise safety in the city. So much prevention and solutions are applied to counter these events. It is not enough.
Artificial Intelligence used in the city through smart surveillance systems are revolutionizing road safety management. Analyzing, identifying and notifying.
Three words that help improve safety for vehicles and pedestrians.
Current problems related to safety in cities
Cities are the most crowded places by citizens, tourists and vehicles of all kinds anytime. Not surprisingly, people say that cities never sleep.
At the same time, safety is not always guaranteed in cities and unpleasant and dangerous events happen.
According to the World Health Organization (WTO), worldwide, 1.3 million people die each year in road traffic accidents. Additionally, between 20 and 50 million people suffer nonfatal injuries.
A very worrying data concerns young people, who are the most vulnerable road users in the world. Road accidents are, in fact, the first cause of death for children and adults aged 5-29 years. 
Road traffic accidents
If we focus on Italy, data is not at all comforting. On the contrary, it paints a very critical road condition.
Research conducted by State Police shows that in 2021 1,662,540 traffic violations were detected. There were 598,530 speeding violations detected and 33,590 vehicle registration certificates withdrawn.
Last year, compared to 2020, traffic accidents increased by 26.7%. Specifically, the increase in fatal crashes was 15.5%, while accidents with injuries registered +26.9%.
According to the Traffic Police, the main causes of accidents include smartphone use, sleep deprivation and drug use.
We are, therefore, faced with a very problematic situation. It seems clear that actions are needed to improve road management.
On the one hand, the Traffic Police is constantly engaged in communication campaigns with the aim of eliminating the number of road fatalities. 
On the other, the automotive sector is also acting with the same goal, making cars that provide greater protection for drivers and passengers.
What can be other valuable solutions to reduce accidents on the road and increase safety?
AI surveillance as the best solution
Being present at the moment when an infringement or accident is about to happen is impossible. Artificial Intelligence, however, can help once again through AI surveillance.
Surveillance is understood as the observation of a place or people, for example suspects, with the purpose of collecting information. Usually surveillance systems don’t enjoy a positive connotation and are useful only to the observer.
The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms into surveillance systems is leading to the rapid deployment of smart video sensors and more.
With the advent of AI surveillance, its definition is changing. In general, it allows to monitor humans, vehicles, objects and to detect behaviors and events for various purposes.
AI surveillance not only enables more accurate results, but also to new developments in previously unusual areas.
For example, it detects anomalies like an intruder entering a sensitive area and notifies it to the system.
It can be used for parking management. Thanks to AI surveillance, it is possible to analyze the number of vehicles in the parking area and to calculate their stay.
Industries, for instance, are harnessing AI capabilities to improve plant management and to increase productivity.
It seems clear that surveillance no longer has only the function to observe, but also and especially to predict. Consequently, the benefits are both for the observers and for those observed and monitored.
More and more countries are implementing AI surveillance tools to monitor citizens and to ensure security. The AI Global Surveillance (AIGS) index collects data on the use of AI surveillance in 176 countries worldwide. It specifies that it includes legal and illegal uses of AI surveillance.
Below is the main data.
75 countries out of 176 globally use Artificial Intelligence technologies for surveillance purposes. In detail, 56 countries use smart and safe city platforms, while 64 countries use facial recognition technology (FRT) systems.
In addition, China is a major driver of AI surveillance worldwide. It is not the only one, as companies located in the U.S. also provide surveillance technologies globally. 
Now is the right time to upgrade traditional road safety and move toward Artificial Intelligence-based road safety. It can be very helpful in accident investigation and road management.
This will definitely increase safety for the benefit of all road users.
Smart city is a safe city
Artificial intelligence helps create and provide innovative police services and strengthen collaborations between nations. In addition, its integration into video sensors makes cities smart and cutting-edge.
It is helpful to specify that smart solutions available for the city are many and closely related. Sensors can also be useful for transport & mobility monitoring and environmental monitoring. They, in fact, reach to cover all areas of the city.
It is not just about smart cities, however. By analyzing, detecting events and notifying relevant bodies, safety in the city is significantly improved. Smart city is thus a safer and more livable city, always respecting privacy.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits:
- Reduction and prevention of crime: communities can be protected and through immediate intervention, confidence in law enforcement services can be increased.
- Improved management of emergency situations, allowing rapid medical assistance.
- Support for analyzing crimes and dangerous situations: such as recognizing wanted persons and analyzing urban spaces.
A smart and safe city enables strong cooperation between different actors, government and law enforcement. This new and improved collaboration is reflected in the society that will enjoy a renewed city.
In this regard, it is crucial to mention two of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that relate to road safety. The first goal calls for halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road crashes by 2030. The second calls for improving road safety by the same year.
New technologies, such as cameras integrated with AI systems and data analysis software, lead to so many opportunities.
AI surveillance is the solution to achieve this goal. Will countries adopt it?
- World Health Organization. Online version: https://www.who.int/health-topics/road-safety#tab=tab_1
- Polizia di Stato. Online version: https://www.poliziadistato.it/articolo/polizia-stradale-il-bilancio-del-2021
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Online version: https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/09/17/global-expansion-of-ai-surveillance-pub-79847
- SDG Knowledge Hub. Online version: https://sdg.iisd.org/commentary/guest-articles/saving-young-lives-protecting-the-planet-and-growing-the-economy-road-safety-for-2030/
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Author: Rossana Cascione, Junior Digital Marketing Specialist