The Smart Solution for Improving Air Quality in Cities

by | Jun 13, 2017 | Article

Experts join forces and urge urban authorities to capitalise on proven tools.

“Decisive action to address the harmful levels of air pollution and toxic fumes in our cities does not need to be a leap of faith.”

This was the message from Mandy Watson of Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions and Tim Daniels of Videalert during a special joint presentation at the Smart Cities Transport Masterclass event held in London on 6th June 2017.

Highlighting the benefits of proven and integrated technologies to achieve new smart city objectives, Watson and Daniels urged urban authorities to drive the behavioural changes that will improve the quality of air in inner city areas.


“Harmful emissions are the curse of modern city living and are high on the agenda of practically every urban authority,” says Watson.

“Directly affecting the quality of life and connectivity within our cities, air pollution is also a topic that lies at the very heart of smart city thinking. But, there really is no excuse for deferring any action to address the problem when practical, realistic and proven tools are already available to deliver immediate and effective improvements.”

In an important new collaboration, Imperial and Videalert have joined forces to deliver a comprehensive clean air enforcement solution harnessing the respective technologies and expertise of both companies. Significantly, the new end-to-end solution is fully integrated to avoid any risks of compatibility or configuration issues.

The new approach is based on the use of Imperial’s virtual permit solution for vehicles entering designated clean air zones, which features an automated tiered pricing tariff to reflect different vehicle types and emission bands. Permit enforcement is provided by Videalert’s ANPR camera technology and dedicated digital video review platform, which also gather invaluable real-time intelligence for the hosting authority. All verified contraventions are then automatically uploaded to Imperial’s back office processing system.

“This is an example of two specialist service providers joining forces to provide a simple yet cutting edge smart city solution,” says Videalert’s Tim Daniels.

“Significantly, however, the innovative approach is founded on well proven and approved technologies so there are no risks or unknowns – we are just working together to extend the capabilities of existing technologies to deliver significant new outcomes.

“Everyone agrees that decisive action is needed to address the invisible shroud of harmful pollution and toxic fumes that cause so many premature deaths and blight the lives of everyone living and working in our cities. There is no magic wand that will extract the pollutants from the city air, so the answer has to focus on behavioural change by discouraging vehicles with the highest emissions from entering designated areas of the city. That’s where our new joint approach can make a very real and immediate difference – ensuring compliance with emission policies to deliver significant improvements to air quality.”

The presentation given by Mandy Watson and Tim Daniels at the Smart Cities Transport Masterclass at The Century Club in London provided confirmation of the new collaboration between Imperial and Videalert. It also demonstrated the versatility and reliability of the new end-to-end enforcement solution for emission permits and highlighted the close co-operation between the two companies in permit management and enforcement work for the London Borough of Barnet and other local authorities around the country.

The new solution features Imperial’s PermitSmarti system. This provides unlimited tiered pricing options, simplified administration and full self-service functionality. The system uses virtual permits and benefits from a seamless interface with Imperial’s 3sixty back office notice processing software.

The enforcement system comprises Videalert’s latest digital ANPR cameras and the company’s dedicated digital video review platform to provide an automated solution for managing and enforcing contraventions within Clean Air Zones and Low Emission Zones. The system provides real-time identification of vehicles including make, model, colour, gross weight, engine type, Euro rating and CO² emission band. Using this information, it automatically determines whether an offence has been committed and/or whether the correct tariff has been paid for entry into the restricted zone.

When a contravention has been identified and verified, full evidence packs are then uploaded to Imperial’s back office processing system for issue of the appropriate Penalty Charge Notice and subsequent progression to payment recovery.


Imperial and Videalert have joined forces to provide a fully integrated solution for encouraging the behavioural change among motorists that will help to improve air quality in our towns and cities

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