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car traffic monitoring
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car traffic monitoring

by sklise on Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:32 am

had an idea for putting a Pi out on a corner, or house and have it monitoring a stop sign; mostly wanted a count of people going thru the stop sign; if i could do folks going thru the sign, that would be bonus points! Looking for ideas, and wanted to do on the cheap/non-commercial. Trying to do this for my neighborhood and show the city some data

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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:45 am

Re: car traffic monitoring

by HowardP on Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:57 pm

Well, having some experience with remote telemetry, the main thing I can say is "good luck with that!" The second thing I can say is " don't do it."

Here is the full story:

First, if it's on city property, i.e., the easement where sidewalks and utilities go, you'll need approval from the city to plant it there. Otherwise, if you just put it there, the city workers will simply tear it up and toss it in their trash. You'll have much more luck - and far less hassle - getting a homeowner to allow you to do this on their property. But make sure you know where the easement line actually is -- it can often go far into a property. You might be able to sneak it up higher on a telephone pole with a ladder. Up there, it takes longer for the utility workers to notice - and then tear it off. And up high and outta sight also helps with the next problem ...

The second hurdle: if you do get permission to do this, the enclosure will have to be indestructible --- a cutesy 3D printed box won't do. Think of it like this: the device is being placed in a war zone, rife with poverty. Hungry people will try to steal it. If they can't get it loose - or they're among the merely angry, or precocious youngsters - they'll try to break it. If they can't say, break off the solar panel, they'll just smash it to pieces. (Don't do a solar panel.... yes they do this in (US) State and Federal parks and lands - but the punishment for dorking with these devices is scary enough that people tend to leave them alone --- except in remote locations. )

The third - and biggest - issue: in many jurisdictions, these kinds of cameras are regulated. (E.g. the cameras on street lights that look down at intersections.) Even if the camera is on private property, the fact that it's recording a public space may make it subject to regulation. In Germany, for instance, such cameras need an Act of God to be placed. (Just ask the Google street mappers ... an Act of Goog allowed them to take pictures on the road (aka "street view"), but many (most) of the building faces are fuzzed out of focus.) In the US, each city or county has its own rules. Most do have regulations now.

The technical problems of powering, triggering the camera, storing and retrieving images is trivial. Very trivial when compared to the legal hurdles.

(Legal disclaimer claimer: I'm not a lawyer, but you may need one.)

- H

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.