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Herts walkers monitored by high tech

abandoned car
Technology keeping track of walkers
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm
New technology is helping Hertfordshire count the number of people using the county’s network of public footpaths and tracks.

High tech sensors are being used to collect information, which is then analysed by Hertfordshire’s Rights of Way Unit.

The information helps the Rights of Way team assess which routes are used the most.

This enables staff to plan when paths, stiles and gates are likely to need maintenance, or replacing and prioritise their work more effectively.

The sensors

The sensors, which contain counting devices, are buried in the ground at certain points along paths.

abandoned car
Sensors placed near gates and stiles
Camera courtesy of Fujifilm

They detect whether someone is walking past by monitoring heat, sound and movement.

Some have an infrared beam which also register the number of people passing.

Hertfordshire has more than 5,200 paths in its rights of way network totalling more than 3000km.

The HertsDirect site has a page setting out the rules for using these paths and tracks for walkers, horse riders, cyclists, motorcyclists and motorists.

The Rights of Way Unit

The Rights of Way Unit is made up of 18 officers working in two teams. They aim to ensure that the rights of the public to use the network are upheld. The unit also tries to ensure that those rights are exercised responsibly.

The unit tries to make sure that landowners and other groups, exercising powers affecting rights of way, do so responsibly.

The Definitive Map team deals with legal changes to the Definitive Map, which shows all the rights of way in the county. The Countryside Access team deals with maintenance and enforcement issues.

The Rights of Way Unit has a Good Practice Guide setting out the operations procedures and standards for rights of way in Hertfordshire.

This site has a series of ten local walks, all about 5km long and based on local pubs.

You can discuss country walks in this site's forum.

February 15, 2003

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