Saturday, February 29, 2020

Mapping Cars in Bike Lanes

A few years ago Nathan Rosenquist released Cars in Bike Lanes, a mapping library which could be used by anyone to photograph traffic violations and add them to an interactive map. The mapping library was primarily used for reporting and photographing cars illegally blocking bike lanes but it can also be used for recording other types of traffic violation.

Nathan's code was used to create Cars in Bike Lanes Boston and Things in Bike Lanes Denver. It was also used by Nathan himself to make Cars in Bike Lanes New York. Unfortunately none of those three site are still active. However Nathan's Cars in Bike Lanes code lives on at GitHub.

You can now also use Safe Lanes to report illegally parked cars. Safe Lanes is a new interactive map which anyone can use to submit photographs of illegal parking in the United States. At the moment you can report illegal parking violations via the web map but iOS and Android apps are apparently coming soon.

Safe Lanes uses AI to process the photographs of all illegally parked vehicles which have been submitted to the map. Object character recognition is used to try to automatically detect the license plate number and the state where the plate was issued. Reports of traffic violations submitted to Safe Lanes in San Francisco are then automatically forwarded to the city's non-emergency 311 service. Safe Lanes is now in talks with other US cities about how best to integrate with their 311 services.

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