August 10, 2021
Residential street in Cardiff logs a quarter of a million vehicles in just one month
Every day about 90,000 commuters travel into Cardiff, the majority of them by car. To solve the varied transport challenges it has been facing, the growing Welsh capital needs innovative solutions. But what do these entail?
The EU-funded WeCount project's proposal involves actively involving the city's citizens in the local policymaking process. The idea is quite simple: citizens can count the traffic on their street using inexpensive computer software and a WeCount-employed sensor called Telraam that's placed in their windows. They then use this data to contact their local government.
This is precisely what concerned residents of Pen-y-Wain Road in Roath did. They installed a Telraam sensor on this street that focuses on the part of the road between Shirley Road, which leads into Pen-y-Wain, and Mackintosh Place, which turns off it. Just for the month of June, the sensor counted a total of 225,204 cars and 26,084 heavy vehicles. Further street traffic statistics on the street traffic are available on the Telraam website.
Not only traffic, but also air pollution
Stuart Thomas, a resident living on the junction between Pen-y-Wain Road and Shirley Road, commented on these huge numbers. "It was kind of a shock but not a totally [sic] shock to me," he stated in a news item posted on 'WalesOnline'. "The volume of traffic on this road is immense. And of course because of the position—there's a crossroads—it's literally coming from all directions." Along with the traffic comes the resulting air pollution: "I clean my room and you find lots of dust and dirt. I can clean it in the morning and in the afternoon it's started to build up. That's bad and you think you're breathing that in every day," noted Thomas.
Prof. Enda Hayes of WeCount project partner University of the West of England, Bristol, had delivered over 90 sensors around Cardiff, one of the most recent being to Roath Park Primary School at the bottom of Pen-y-Wain. "Pen-y-Wain Road has been one of the more stable sensors over the last few months. And Roath is probably the area where we have the most sensors in Cardiff. The community in Roath have been really eager to get engaged and get involved," observed Prof. Hayes, who is the project's coordinator in Cardiff. "Pen-y-Wain is one of the heaviest traffic roads in that area. You've got Pen-y-Wain Road, Shirley Road, Allensbank Road, Albany Road and City Road—they seem to be the ones that have the highest volume of traffic in that particular area. For Albany Road, for City Road, for Allensbank Road—maybe that's kind of expected. But Pen-y-Wain Road and Shirley Road really aren't big roads where you would expect this volume of traffic," he said.
In response to citizens' concerns backed by WeCount (WeCount: Citizens Observing UrbaN Transport) data, a spokesperson for the Cardiff Council stated: "It is worth noting the WeCount data collection tool is still a relatively new system and does not necessarily provide robust data for transport planning. We are a partner in this project and will be using the findings alongside our own traffic surveys and monitoring to strengthen our understanding of the network."