Keeping count during the pandemic

Friends of Centurion Way have long wished to record the number of people using the pathway. This project is of particular importance as it will bolster our demands for continued good quality provision for walking and cycling as new housing development puts pressure on town planning decisions on  the west of Chichester.

Many individual supports of Centurion Way have generously donated funds and the South Downs National Park has also made a substantial contribution towards the installation of a counting system. However the Covid 19 pandemic threw a big spanner into the works regarding our procurement and installation of a working system. Philip Maber pursued a promising solution that utilised a video camera  coupled with an artificial intelligence computer system. This promised to deliver a sophisticated analysis of how Centurion Way is used by different kinds of users. Unfortunately we were unable to resolve a number of issues such as who could authorise us connecting to the mains supply from the pathways street lights that would have been necessary to provide power to this system.

In November the Friends of Centurion Way changed tack and decided to use a simpler counter system provided by Axiomatic that relies on an infrared beam of light similar to that produced by a TV remote control. The design of this system is such that a transmitter and receiver unit needs to be fitted on either side of the path at approximately 1.2 metres height above ground level. Although we have already received delivery of this counter system, installation is delayed while we put together a secure mounting system. Unlike the video camera system, the infrared beam modules will be within reach of the general public. We do not wish to have curious individuals interfering with our counter system.

Chichester District Councillor Sarah Sharp took a look at the counter system components on Christmas Day 2020 and lent a helpful hand fabricating the metal enclosures for the counter modules

Sarah Sharp fabricating counter enclosures
Sarah Sharp helping FoCW fabricate secure counter enclosures

Our aim is to have these counters in place early in January 2021 and Sarah has also kindly offered to help with our verification counts that will ensure the system is working correctly as it measures the number of people using Centurion Way each day.

Wishing all our supporters a happy and prosperous New year in 2020.

On behalf of the Friends of Centurion Way,

Mark Record (FoCW website coordinator)

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