Why use Automatic Number Plate Recognition?

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is a recently-developed technology which uses vehicle number plates to recognise and track vehicles. It’s used both to aid police with criminal enquiries, and to monitor and survey traffic movements. Here, we’ve listed just a few examples of how ANPR technology is used on our roads across the UK.


Saturday June 24th saw the celebrations of Armed Forces Day in full swing across the country. Increased security measures took the form of covert police officers, use of CCTV, police dogs, and automatic number plate recognition.

Following the recent terrorist attacks, security services have been keeping a close eye on the movements of people on particular watch lists. One way of keeping up with this is monitoring vehicle movement. With the extra security surrounding all major events, police are constantly watching ANPR data to give them a clear idea of movement.

Everyday use

Along with helping out anti-terrorist police units, ANPR is also used by local police in day-to-day situations. In Leeds, several stolen motorbikes were recovered thanks to the number plate recognition technology, whilst in Hull a man is in court after being caught by ANPR whilst misusing a bus lane.

Public use

The city of Aberdeen is one of the places catching onto the benefits of this technology – the local council is spending £300,000 to install ANPR along with extra CCTV cameras. The technology will monitor traffic flow, as well as keeping an eye out for dangerous driving on the roads. The outcome of the council’s investment will be safer roads and better traffic flow thanks to the real-time traffic information that will be used to divert traffic away from busy roads, alongside changing traffic signals and putting out traffic information bulletins.

Planning and development

ANPR is now commonly used by companies like RDS to survey traffic and provide key data to transport planners and development companies. Highly accurate data informs better decision making, which in turn means that new industrial, commercial and residential developments include appropriate road and transport links.

Want to know more?

If you think your project could benefit from professional traffic data or you’re interested in finding out more about the help and information that traffic surveys can provide, contact Road Data Services today.


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