Gold Coast City Counts on Q-Free Tech for Cycling and Walking Infrastructure

Data collection and safety improvements anchor the city’s Transport Strategy focusing on increasing the share of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

A traffic light for bikes set to green
Installed and maintained by Q-Free Australia, the accuracy of the counter can distinguish between pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders

Q-Free (OSE: QFR), a global leader in mobility solutions for smart city infrastructure, recently installed the first of four planned pedestrian and cycle counters for 2023 in the City of Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. This installation brings the total number of Q-Free HI-TRAC® CMU counters in the region to 34, each generating crucial data on the volume and movements of pedestrians and cyclists.

Walking and Cycling Identified as Areas for Improvement

The City of Gold Coast developed a plan to improve all areas of transport within the city. This plan, called The Gold Coast City Transport Strategy, identified the mobility of pedestrians and cyclists as an area ripe for major improvements. Gold Coast boasts a population of over 600,000 people, with 10 million tourists per year visiting the ocean, theme parks, golf courses, or other attractions. With that many people, the goal of increasing cycle and pedestrian traffic share by five percent over automobile traffic would bring significant benefits like reduced air pollution, congestion, and noise.

Planning Required Data Gold Coast City Could Rely On

Developing a complex strategy to increase the share of bikers and walkers in Gold Coast City required accurate, comprehensive data collection. The city chose the HI-TRAC CMU cyclist and pedestrian monitoring unit to meet their needs. Installed and maintained by Q-Free Australia, the pinpoint accuracy of the counter can distinguish between several traffic types like pedestrians, cyclists, and skateboarders. The data fuels the citywide pedestrian and biking plan, identifying service gaps and hotspots and recommending new paths and networks. By acting on the areas of need, the city can build more sustainability and personal mobility into the infrastructure, resulting in fewer automobiles and emissions while improving safety and access for foot and bike traffic.

The HI-TRAC CMU Can do More Than Count

The City of Gold Coast relies on the accuracy of the HI-TRAC CMU data to drive its strategy. The equipment, installed on solar-powered poles and off-path cabinets, uses piezoelectric, passive infrared, and overhead sensors to identify and count the pedestrians and bicycles using the path. Q-Free’s data hosting and reporting tool allows the city to access or download transportation data easily in real-time. The HI-TRAC CMU can operate on sustainable solar power with battery backup, reducing the main-line electricity used and matching the renewable energy goals outlined in the Transport Strategy.

Deploying technology that operates on renewable power is a cornerstone of Q-Free’s vision of aligning sustainability goals with technology and traffic management.

Silje Troseth, Q-Free’s Asia-Pacific Vice President and GM of Australia, said:

This is a great project for Q-Free, one that shows our technical abilities along with our commitment to safety and sustainability Citizens and tourists of Gold Coast City will be enjoying the benefits of this project for decades.

The HI-TRAC CMU continues a functional life cycle after the data-gathering phase. Each unit can monitor four separate bicycle/pedestrian lanes and distinguish actual bicycles from other traffic. The CMU can integrate into signal and traffic management systems, setting up real-time displays and alerts. One feature Gold Coast uses, for example, detects bicycle traffic and automatically triggers flashing signs for drivers, alerting them to the upcoming cyclists. In a smart-city deployment, the HI-TRAC CMU can fully coordinate with a regional traffic management system, improving safety for vulnerable road users in multi-modal transportation environments.

Staying Busy Down Under

The Q-Free Australia team continues improving the HI-TRAC CMU counting network’s safety, sustainability, and data-gathering capabilities. With the success of the initial set of counters, the City of Gold Coast installed additional units, with even more in the planning stage. Gold Coast also contracted Q-Free Australia for modem upgrades to maintain communication improvement standards set by Australia’s government as they phase out old, inefficient data networks.

This article was originally published by Q-Free.


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