Shenzhen targets jaywalking with face recognition

By Niu Jingjing
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 20, 2017
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Face recognition display screen. A smart traffic system launches at a crossroad in Shenzhen, Guangdong on April 17, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Shenzhen has developed a smart traffic system to fight the "Chinese style of crossing roads," or jaywalking, by capturing and displaying violator's face on a screen.

"Chinese style of crossing roads" is a local expression that refers to large crowds of people crossing the street, not based on the traffic signals, but on whether there are sufficient numbers of pedestrians who feel it's safe. Such behavior often poses a danger to both drivers and pedestrians themselves and is difficult to supervise and restrict.

Shenzhen has employed an enormous amount of traffic police and assistants to manage the problem. Over the past 18 months, officers dealt with nearly 200,000 jaywalking violations.

The new "electronic police" has been put on duty at the junction of Xinzhou and Lianhua roads near Peking University Shenzhen Hospital since April 15. The intelligent device is currently on trial, according to Li Qiang, the director of Science and Technology Bureau of Shenzhen Police Department.

The system detects jaywalkers by camera, after which it will focus on his or her face to determine identity and save data. The information will then be shown on a screen to warn pedestrians. Moreover, based on big data analysis, it can also figure out how many times each person has violated traffic rules.

Except for traditional traffic signals, "ground signal lights" have also been installed in front of the zebra crossing. They sync the red and green traffic lights to double-remind pedestrians to wait before crossing the street.

"We are discussing about a punishment mechanism and expect to implement next month. If it goes well it will be applied throughout the city," said Li Qiang.

Shenzhen traffic police will also use collected data as evidence against other traffic rule violators.

After a three-day operation, the system was said to work well. "Most people now obey traffic rules no matter if they are pedestrians or cyclists," said a traffic police assistant.

"It is a good thing to restrain disorderly behavior via face-recognition, though the new system still needs improving. I am ok with it, but if more private information is made public, I think there should be related laws to protect it," said Mr. Li, a Shenzhen citizen.

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