Jaywalkers in China cities face their match in tech

Several Chinese cities have installed facial recognition equipment and screens at major intersections to address the issue of jaywalking and to encourage road safety.
Several Chinese cities have installed facial recognition equipment and screens at major intersections to address the issue of jaywalking and to encourage road safety.PHOTO: AFP

JINAN (Shandong) • Jaywalkers in China risk being identified by facial recognition technology and having their photo and personal information exposed to shame them for breaking the law.

Traffic management authorities in several Chinese cities have installed facial recognition equipment and screens at major intersections to tackle the ongoing problem of jaywalking and to encourage road safety.

Since the equipment was installed in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong province in early May, it has captured photographic proof of more than 6,000 cases involving pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles crossing roads during red lights.

The equipment takes several snapshots and a 15-second video when it detects pedestrians crossing the intersection on a red light. The photos appear on the screen immediately so the offenders can see they have been caught.

The photos are then compared with the images in the provincial police department database and checked to confirm accuracy.

Within 20 minutes, offenders' photos and personal information such as their ID numbers and home addresses are displayed on the screen at the crossroad.

Traffic police then contact the offenders and give them a choice of three forms of punishment - a fine of 20 yuan (S$4), a half-hour course in traffic rules, or 20 minutes spent assisting police in controlling traffic.

"Since the new technology was adopted, the cases of jaywalking have been reduced from 200 to 20 each day at the major intersection of Jingshi and Shungeng roads," said Jinan's traffic police.

The city will install the equipment at 50 major intersections by end-June. Each set costs around 100,000 yuan.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'Jaywalkers in China cities face their match in tech'. Print Edition | Subscribe