Vancouver, BC – June 27, 2023 – Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting Renee Ray, the Senior Director of Transportation Policy for Hayden AI. This is a California-based company whose mission is to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies that has revolutionized how governments and businesses solve real world problems. From bus lane and bus stop enforcement to digital twin modeling and more, their clients use their mobile perception system to speed up transit, make streets safer, and help create a more sustainable future.
We were both attending the #MotivateVANCOUVER Conference taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre on June 27 and 28th on one of the most glorious, sunny days that Vancouver had to offer. This conference is an “Innovation and Investment” Conference for NextGen Mobility and had a mix of presentations like pitches from start-up companies offering innovative solutions to the issues of the day, expert panels offering feedback, two microphones for the audience to ask questions and plenty of time for networking during the coffee breaks.
The opening remarks were by the CEO of Translink Kevin Quinn, who talked about ideas and solutions they have come up with to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, something they feel will help with climate change. He mentioned the need for an integrated multimodal transportation strategy that would introduce new technologies and partnerships, since the change of pace is accelerating and many governments and companies are struggling to keep up with rapid urban growth applying pressure.
There are differences in how public transportation is handled between Canada and the US. Renee Ray, although living in Florida, works for Hayden AI, a company in the Bay Area near San Francisco, California, that essentially “helps transit agencies solve problems.” So far, these problems are all south of the border, although they would be happy to connect with Canadian who need their platforms, as well. One of the main public transportation issue in California is illegal parking in dedicated bus lanes.
Vehicle Code § 22500 CVC is the California statute that makes it a parking violation to stop, park, or leave your vehicle in certain locations:
(i) Except as provided under Section 22500.5, alongside curb space authorized for the loading and unloading of passengers of a bus engaged as a common carrier in local transportation when indicated by a sign or red paint on the curb erected or painted by local authorities pursuant to an ordinance.
According to an article on Conduent: “Starting January 1, 2022, California AB 917 becomes law, enabling public transit operators state-wide to install automated forward-facing cameras on transit vehicles to enforce parking violations in bus lanes, and at designated transit stops. Co-sponsored by the California Transit Association (CTA), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit), California’s new AB 917 legislation lends support to helping improve transit services and passenger safety by increasing average bus speeds, improving on-time transit performance and system reliability, and creating safer bus boarding/de-boarding access for elderly and disabled transit riders.”
The company started when the current CEO Chris Carson was sitting on a bus in 2021 and occasionally noticed the driver press a button. When questioned, the driver stated that every time he pushed the button, a car owner who had parked in the dedicated bus lane received a ticket. Carson had an idea “I bet you I could automate that” and by August 2022 Hayden AI, an emerging leader in smart traffic enforcement powered by artificial intelligence, announced that it had signed a contract with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for deployment of 300 interior mounted Automated Bus Lane Enforcement (ABLE) camera systems.
Hayden AI’s goal is to pioneer real world problem solving powered by AI and machine learning. Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Oakland, CA, Hayden AI is the largest provider of mobile automated bus lane enforcement systems in the United States. Their mobile perception platform helps clients speed up transit, make streets safer, and create a more sustainable future. Renee Ray was employee #16 for the company back in 2021, and by now they have 150 people working for them, selling their services to cities in New York, Washington, DC and California and are growing rapidly.
Since 2021, Hayden AI installed more than 650 AI-powered, perception systems throughout the country deployed to enhance mobility by improving service, safety, and sustainability. Their platform uses computer vision and deep learning to collect and analyze geospatial and image data at the edge to help build tools like digital twins. These accurate, real-time virtual replicas of the physical environment can assist organizations in maintaining assets and aligning projects to reach goals like improved sustainability.
Over the last couple of years, Hayden AI has been involved in a few pilot projects. One of these is working with The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in a 60-day pilot to address illegal parking in bus lanes and at transit stops is expected to improve transit reliability, trip times, and safety and promote safe and accessible boarding. Since launching on April 20th, the seven SEPTA buses equipped with the pilot system have recorded on average over 4,000 incidences of parking in bus lanes or bus stops per week.
On Wednesday, June 21st, the AC Transit Board approved a deal with a local A.I. company that will make it the first in the state to use automated cameras to end illegal parking at bus stops. Under the agreement, Oakland-based Hayden AI will mount 100 cameras on the front of buses where they automatically read the license plates of vehicles parked at bus stops and driving in bus-only lanes to crack down on violators. This is important to the public because it will increase safety for passengers and other drivers, ensure physically disabled passengers can access public transportation, keep buses running on time, and boost sustainability by reducing the time buses are on the road. During the pilot program, mounted cameras on two buses captured nearly 500 bus lane obstructions in just two days!
Finally, the most recent pilot, Hayden AI Partners with Big Blue Bus on Bus Lane and Bus Stop Enforcement Pilot, where over 500 violations were captured. Illegal parking and driving in bus lanes was keeping hundreds of riders from reaching their destinations reliably. The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus agency operates a fleet of 195 vehicles transporting passengers daily across a 58-square-mile service area. Nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to a cleaner environment, Big Blue Bus plans to convert its entire fleet from natural gas to zero emissions by 2030. Serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928, Big Blue Bus has won numerous awards for its marketing, customer service, safety, and efficiency.
From the https://www.facebook.com/SMBigBlueBus
But what if is a question I am sure you are asking yourself. What if a driver has a good reason to pull over – there is an emergency, there is ice on the road, they have to drop someone off, or there are no buses in sight? Law enforcement agencies might then offer citations, warnings or dismiss the case entirely. But if they are found guilty, drivers who violate the rules will either be towed away, ore receive a ticket between $60 to $250 USD. The good news is that apparently 80% of those drivers who receive tickets thanks to this new AI technology don’t repeat their mistakes, which makes the roads safer for everybody. Also, dedicated bus lanes are expenses, and if the bus can’t move faster thanks to violators, it is not a good return on investment.
At the Mobility Conference, Renee Ray was presenting in a “Industry Chat: Investing in Efficiency with Big Data and AI“, alongside Ahsan Baig, CIO/CTO of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit, who oversees and coordinates all IT investments, including innovation, digital transformation roadmap, infrastructure modernization, development of zero-emission bus energy management software platform, and implementation of a cybersecurity framework. and Yuval Fogelson, a Curbside Mobility Specialist and an adjunct professor at UBC, in the Master of Urban Design program.
The premise was: “Digitizing mobility infrastructure and modes has the potential to dramatically increase the efficiency of our transportation systems, but how can cities and regions manage in a future where cars and roads are getting smarter? What investments should public agencies make now in data platforms and artificial intelligence to allow for data-informed planning and policy decisions that will pay off future dividends. And what impacts on other aspects of life – such as safety, privacy, and job creation – must be considered in a streamlined and digitized transportation future?”
Canada’s transportation system includes more than 1,400,000 kilometres (870,000 mi) of roads, 10 major international airports, 300 smaller airports, 72,093 km (44,797 mi) of functioning railway track, and more than 300 commercial ports and harbours that provide access. In the United States, passenger transportation is dominated by a network of over 3.9 million miles of highways, with passenger vehicles including cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles, accounting for 86% of passenger-miles traveled on approx. 4,161,000 miles (6,696,000 km) of roads, 2,844,000 miles (4,577,000 km) paved and 1,317,000 miles (2,120,000 km) unpaved. The United States also has 25,482 miles (41,009 km) of navigable inland channels (rivers and canals), exclusive of the Great Lakes. and 15 heavy rail rapid transit systems.
Ahsan Baig, also a Chairperson of the California Transit Association IT Committee is an active member of IEEE, APTA, and CTA mentioned that public transit is at an interesting junction and investing in AI would be an amazing opportunity to provide answers to some of the challenges. Some of these challenges are the fact that just in the Bay Area alone, there are 27 different transit agencies and the average company is dealing with 400 to 1000 data sources. Governments & companies need to be able to set up comprehensive data governance, gather data in a more cost-effective way, and leverage the data to make better decisions, which is something AI can help with. Also digitizing, automating and gathering real-time data from parking apps, cameras and sensors, which can then also be shared with other stakeholders.
Finally, the panel talked about privacy concerns, which is what everyone is wondering about. Some data point, such as trips from A to B are not recorded with cameras, but only using aggregated and anonymized data. Also, although there is no worldwide regulation of AI, the public is protected by laws already in place that have set a legal precedence. Then there are strict rules what the data can be used for and how long it can be held. But there is still work to be done, particularly in the area of enforcement of law and how to work together globally.
According to Security Magazine “In smart cities, AI-enhanced technologies are often used for things that would otherwise be difficult for humans to do. This includes crowd estimation, weapon detection, identifying critical hardware failures, enhancing investigations or reducing congestion to improve the flow of people or vehicles. AI-powered technologies can also assist with protecting the privacy of residents and visitors without compromising security. The proliferation of video surveillance in communities has raised understandable concerns about balancing people’s right to privacy with improving safety and security. As a solution, there are tools available to help protect people’s privacy by automatically blurring people and restricting access to the original footage except on a need-to-know basis.”
One of the things Renee Ray and I talked about is bias, and how AI can remove this from the equation. We also discussed the idea of how AI can help with “bus bunching”, when several buses show up at the bus stop at the same time, rather than spread out because of heavy traffic or road construction. Finally, there was the fact that AI touches a lot of departments at the same time and collaboration and teamwork is important. You could be talking to the business development team, the IT department or even the communications & PR department in order to figure out how to best implent an AI platform provided by companies like Hayden AI. Definitely fascinating times.
To connect with Renee Ray to discuss AI solutions, please contact:
About Hayden AI
Hayden AI was founded on the belief that by combining mobile sensors with artificial intelligence, we can help governments bridge the innovation gap while making traffic flow less dangerous and more efficient. Led by a team of experts in machine learning, data science, transportation, and government technology, we’ve developed the world’s first autonomous traffic management platform — simultaneously serving citizens and multi-agency missions to help cities become safer and more sustainable.
To learn more about Hayden AI, visit www.hayden.ai
SOURCE Hayden AI Technologies, Inc.
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