Researcher launches website that gives ‘all seeing eye’ on London traffic

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways April 12, 2016 15:37

Researcher launches website that gives ‘all seeing eye’ on London traffic


A new website has been launched which allows people to keep an “all seeing eye” on most of London’s busiest roads.

UCL researcher Oliver O’Brien, 35, has created the tool, dubbed the “London Panopticon”, in which viewers can watch videos of traffic from cameras on busy “red routes” across the capital.

The site will provide traffic information on your computer’s location and allow you to keep tabs on congestion hotspots such as Trafalgar Square and Oxford Circus.

panopticon.jpg

“All seeing eye”: The website shows traffic information across London (Oliver O’Brien)

An option is also included to monitor the North-South Cycle Superhighway at Blackfriars to measure how many cyclists are using the route once it is fully opened.

Feeds from cameras are continuously updated every few minutes to give visitors up-to-date information about road conditions unless they are being used by a Transport for London official.

The visualisation was made possible after TfL modernised its “JamCam” system in January to provide short video clips.

Previously, the cameras displayed static images but have now been updated to show five-second clips which are updated every few minutes

Launching the website yesterday, Mr O’Brien said the name Panopticon was chosen as a nod to 18th century theorist Jeremy Bentham who developed a design of a prison in which inmates are watched by a single guard without them knowing it.

He wrote: “The Panopticon encourages good behaviour, because you can’t see the watcher, so you never know if you are being watched. Kind of like the traffic cameras.

He told the Standard: “The concept was quite a cool one which I hadn’t seen done before so I thought it would be a fun project to do.

“It will give people an all seeing eye on traffic north, south, east and west of the city.

“With my day job hat on I do believe this has the potential to be very useful in how we alternatively measure congestion in different ways using these videos.

“It is still in the early stages but the great majority of the feedback so far I’ve received has been positive.”

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways April 12, 2016 15:37