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City to Test License Reader Cameras on Bike Lanes


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By Jorge Casuso

May 2, 2024 -- Santa Monica is expanding its network of automated, AI-powered camera systems with a pilot program to detect vehicles illegally parked in bicycle lanes, according to an information item sent to the City Council Wednesday.

The 45-day pilot program will launch with cameras mounted to two police parking enforcement vehicles under an agreement with the vendor, Hayden AI, transportation officials said.

Camera Equipment installed on parking enforcement vehicle
AI camera equipment installed on parking enforcement vehicle. From left: camera, computer, antenna (Courtesy City of Santa Monica)

If the test phase is successful, cameras on parking enforcement vehicles would join a rapidly growing network of license plate reader cameras mounted on police patrol vehicles, municipal buses and on light poles across the city.

"The pilot system leverages cameras using advanced analytical capabilities to capture evidence of potential parking and traffic violations in bike lanes," the item reads.

"The pilot will study whether this technology could help improve safety and the user experience for Santa Monica’s cycling community."

The on-board equipment includes a forward-facing context camera and a license plate reading (LPR) camera, according to the item from Transportation Director Anuj Gupta. It also includes a computing box inside the vehicle and an antenna on the roof.

A designated City employee qualified to issue parking citations is required "to review photographs" and, if a parking violation has taken place, "issue a notice of violation to the registered owner of a vehicle within 15 calendar days.”

The program will help police and transportation department officials "better understand where and when violations are occurring in bike lanes," according to the item.

The data collected will "help guide future enforcement efforts."

The pilot program is being launched after Governor Gavin Newsom last year signed Assembly Bill (AB) 361, which allows local jurisdictions to monitor and enforce bicycle lanes using cameras mounted on police parking enforcement vehicles.

The program comes one year after the City launched a 45-day pilot program to test the use of AI-equipped license reader cameras on City buses along the route to LAX ("City Tests AI Cameras to Deter Unwanted Behavior," April 17, 2023).

The cameras mounted on two buses captured an average of 7.7 violations per bus per day, according to the data. The City is procuring funding for a permanent program.

Last month the Council approved a $494,100 contract that triples the number of Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras mounted on light poles -- from 25 cameras in the Downtown and Pier areas to 79 citywide ("Council Set to Approve More License Plate Reader Cameras," April 16, 2024).

Police officials said the cameras "have been instrumental in producing investigatory leads and solving numerous robbery, murder, burglary, and other property crimes cases, which otherwise would not have had successful outcomes."

The timeline for the bike lane pilot program is four months "including planning, installation, launch of staff portal, and after-pilot review," according to Wednesday's information item.

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