Telraam at school

Telraam at school • Written by Wouter Florizoone on 21 October 2021

Twelve Flemish schools are starting a pilot project in which they measure traffic using Telraam devices, a combination of a microcomputer, sensors and a camera.

This gives them an insight into the number of pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks that pass the school every day. Based on this data, the school board, together with the local authorities and the police, can take specific measures to improve traffic safety in the vicinity of the school. The pilot project is an initiative of VSV (Flemish Traffic Research Foundation) in cooperation with Mobiel 21 and Rear Window BV. Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters kicked off the project this morning at Sint-Jan primary school in Eisden (Maasmechelen).

A Telraam device is a combination of a Raspberry Pi1 microcomputer, sensors and a low-resolution camera. The device is attached to the inside of a window on one floor of the school building, facing the street. It continuously measures how many pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks pass by. For cars, the Telraam also keeps track of speed. "The data is available as open data to everyone via and provides valuable information and concrete insights into the 'modal split' and traffic liveability in the school environment," says Wouter Florizoone of Rear Window BV.

Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters: "Thanks to this innovative project, we can check whether speed inhibiting interventions and actions aimed at keeping car traffic or heavy trucks out of the school environment lead to the hoped-for results. In the Flemish road safety plan, we provide support to avoid heavy and creeping traffic as much as possible in residential areas and at places and times with many active road users. Based on the measurement data, the school, in cooperation with the road authority and the local police, can take targeted measures to make the situation safer for pedestrians and cyclists in the immediate vicinity".

Mix of primary and secondary schools
The test will start in twelve schools spread all over Flanders (Beveren, Brakel, Bree, Hooglede, Kortrijk, Lubbeek, Maasmechelen, Mechelen, Ternat, Wuustwezel, Zonnebeke and Zottegem). In order to be able to draw meaningful conclusions, it involves a mix of primary and secondary schools located in busy and less busy streets. Minister Lydia Peeters launched the project this morning at the Sint-Jan primary school in Eisden (Maasmechelen). Director Bart Vanhengel: "Our school is located in the commercial centre of Maasmechelen, between two important access roads. In recent years, the number of shops in the neighbourhood has increased steadily, resulting in extra traffic in the school area. With the Telraam, we can monitor the number of vehicles over a longer period of time, but we also get a picture of the peak moments. By analysing this data together with the municipality and the police, actions can be taken to tackle any bottlenecks in a targeted way. For our fifth and sixth form students, the Telraam data also offers additional opportunities to work with the figures from our school environment, for example in maths lessons."

Free guidance and action plan

The participating schools receive free guidance on safe school environments from the VSV. Together with the school, the local authorities and the police, an VSV employee examines on site what can be improved in terms of infrastructure, education, awareness and enforcement. The ten points for improvement with the most support are included in an action plan that the school, the municipality and the police implement together.

"The idea is that, with the Telraam data in hand, the students will take a critical look at the mobility around the school and in their neighbourhood", says Jan Christiaens of Mobiel 21. "Together with VSV, we are working on an educational package that will allow the schools to involve their students in the project, for example to discuss the measuring results. This way, they have the opportunity to work out proposals for a healthier and safer school environment."