Announced several years ago, the creation of lanes reserved for carpooling is slowly developing in the most congested French metropolises. In Lyon, Grenoble and Strasbourg, and soon in Rennes, Lille and Nantes, cars carrying at least two people can travel in exclusive lanes when traffic is slow. The objective is clear: to encourage car sharing to save time and avoid the overly systematic use of individual cars. But how can we check that famous soloists do not take the famous axis? For the moment, only the watchful eye of the police allows violators to be fined. But not by much. Until the end of the year, several surveillance devices will be installed on the affected roads to check the number of occupants. And verbalize if necessary.
In ministerial jargon, we call this the “pilot phase.” In the coming weeks and for a period of two years, the State will test a type of radar capable of verifying the number of occupants present in a vehicle. Contacted, the Ministry of Energy Transition specifies “that a dozen sites” are affected by the installation of these devices. “If we don’t carry out controls, everyone will be able to receive it,” explains an official from the Western Highway Department. However, each interested community must give its agreement before signing an agreement with interested parties, including the State.
Operational “in November or December”
At the moment, only Grenoble has already spoken in favor of this agreement for an upcoming installation along the A48, in an 8 km stretch after the Voreppe toll. When will the others be? It’s hard to know since communication is blocked on this topic. In Lyon, two radars will be installed in October or November, “which will probably be put into operation before the end of the year”, assures the metropolis. The latter applied as a candidate considering that “it needs efficient radar control as a result of the observed non-compliance.”
In Rennes, it is estimated that the control system will be effective “in November or December” in the emergency lane, where only public transport is currently authorized. The ministry assures that the communication regarding the beginning of the verbalizations will be managed “by local actors.”
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In each place where the device will be installed, “specific traffic signs will be deployed.” Do we know what it will be like? “It is currently in the technical validation phase,” the ministry summarily responds. In Lyon, the violation can be fined from January 18, 2021 on the M6/M7, but must be carried out manually by patrolling law enforcement officers. The observation is the same in Grenoble, despite the installation of devices on the sides of the roads. At the moment, these machines are only “educational tools” and do not allow verbalization. To support the police, the ministry would have chosen the solution developed by the company Pryntec as part of a national market. Asked several times, the Côte-d’Or-based company did not want to answer us. Created in 2018 by the security group TEB SAS, this company that employs 200 people has already installed its solutions in Grenoble and Lyon.
Their device is powered by artificial intelligence software that can “scan” a car and instantly count the number of occupants, even when they are sitting in the back. Yes, children matter. No, the inflatable doll does not work. And yes, the device can read your license plate number and transmit it to the right person.
A police officer will verify the violation.
The Burgundy-based company even proposes a false detection rate estimated at less than 1%, day or night, even when it rains or snows. But it will actually be a police officer who will be in charge of manually checking whether there is a violation or not. Please note that failure to comply with carpool lanes is punishable by a fine of €135.