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How IT Fixed London Traffic

July 17th, 2003 · 1 Comment

I was in London recently, and find traffic flow quite smooth. As it turns out, technology has a critical role to play, according to CIO Magazine:

On Feb. 17, 2003, London began to fight back. The British capital launched an anticongestion scheme, based on tolls, that is attracting attention from all over the world. Unlike American-style tolls, though, there’s no sitting in queues waiting to pay. Or transponders.

Instead, 688 cameras at 203 sites scattered across the 8-square-mile anticongestion area photograph the license plates of the 250,000 cars that traverse it each day. Enter the anticongestion area marked by a red C logo painted on signs and streets. Get photographed. And get ready for a one-off charge payable for that day, irrespective of how long the vehicle is in the zone, or how many times it is photographed. At a data center in central London, Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology is then applied to convert the photograph images to license numbers. Motorists who don’t pay the toll that day are fined about $130, automatically.

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