If you park in a bus lane in places like Santa Monica, California, or Washington, D.C., you might want to put a smiley sticker on your car, because it is going to have its picture taken by a bus.
To be specific, AI camera technology will do the photography and also write a ticket, according to KTLA-TV.
Santa Monica decided it needed a way to keep buses on time and reduce blocked bus lanes that delay the vehicles.
“The question becomes how do we and other cities keep vehicles that should not be in the transit lane out of the lane,” said Robert McCall, who oversees Community Engagement for the City of Santa Monica.
The long arm of the law begins reaching out when a bus snaps an image of the license plate of a vehicle parked where it does not belong.
“Our cameras are able to be accurate to within 10 centimeters, we know if a vehicle is moving or whether a vehicle is stopped,” said Charlie Territo with Hayden AI, the vendor supplying the technology.
After either of the two cameras on the bus record a violation, a computer analyzes the images and creates reports that can lead to tickets in what’s described as near real-time.
In a uring 45-day pilot, more than 500 potential violations were identified. Blocking a bus lane in Santa Monica leads to a $300 fine.
McCall said the idea is not to impose fines, but to deter illegal parking.
“Our goal is not to issue citations, but our goal is to change behavior,” he said.
The Metro system in Washington, D.C., will see 140 of the systems Hayden AI makes installed this summer, with the system expected to be up and running by the end of the year, according to the Washington Examiner.
“We are honored to work with Metro to bring automated bus lane and bus stop enforcement to our nation’s capital,” Chris Carson, CEO and co-founder of Hayden AI, said at the time.
The Washington system will work much like the one in Santa Monica. After a picture of a license plate, geolocated through GPS, is snapped, the second camera adds detail that can tell if the car was idling or occupied. The information goes to the city’s Department of Transportation, according to The Washington Post.
The Clear Lanes enforcement initiative from @WMATA and @DDOTDC aims to keep traffic flowing smoothly. Take a look at this image to understand how it works. To learn more about this initiative, visit https://t.co/JFTolboU1A. pic.twitter.com/f48sxjggOd
— DDOT DC (@DDOTDC) June 13, 2023
Tickets are issued by city parking officials.
Transit system workers would not have access to the images or any information generated by the system.
The Metro system is paying $4.6 million while the city is adding $3.1 million for the system.
In D.C., the fine for blocking a bus lane is $200. The Post report noted that the revenue would go to the city, not the transit system.
In promoting its wares, the company said, “Hayden AI’s mobile perception platform identifies potential traffic violations, pre-processes them on the vehicle, and then uploads only the data necessary to issue a prosecutable violation — keeping data secure and streamlining data management for businesses and government agencies.”
The company said its portal “streamlines evidence review, provides advanced data analysis and visualization, monitors your city’s assets, and allows for easy management of traffic rules.”