Va. DOT getting smarter about congestion

Researchers in the Old Dominion have adopted new mobile traffic analysis technology to reduce the economic waste and pollution caused by traffic tangles.

Researchers in the Old Dominion have adopted new mobile traffic analysis technology to reduce the economic waste and pollution caused by traffic tangles.Northern Virginia residents spend an average of 46 hours a year stuck in traffic, studies show. In cities such as Los Angeles, Atlanta and Seattle, analysis shows that residents waste more than 50 hours a year on congested roads.These figures from the Texas Transportation Institute have prompted many state and local governments to use Intelligent Transportation Systems to try to ease congestion by alerting drivers about accidents, road work or backups.The Virginia Transportation Research Council, which is the Virginia Transportation Department's research arm, and the University of Virginia have developed a Smart Travel Van mobile data collection system to measure, record and analyze traffic patterns.'In order to do something about traffic, you have to develop strategies through research, and the van gives us the ability to see how traffic is really behaving,' said Brian Smith, assistant professor with the University of Virginia and a joint appointee with the research council. 'We have flexibility to collect data anywhere in the state to meet our research needs.'The $100,000 van incorporates a telescoping mast, a detection system and video detection software.Project leaders customized a cargo van, like those used by TV stations for remote broadcasts, with a 42-foot mast, a built-in generator fed by the gas tank, heating and air conditioning systems and a power distribution system.Scientists equipped the van with the Autoscope Solo Pro MVP, from Econolite Control Products Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., for video imaging detection. Researchers attached the video camera to the mast to record passing traffic. Researchers in the van define detection areas for the camera to scan by using a mouse to highlight the areas on a video map.The processor in the Autoscope stores the data on RAM and transmits it to the 600-MHz Pentium III PC with 256 M of RAM in the van.The imaging software looks for changes in the pixel intensity to count cars and measure speeds. Researchers put all the information into an Oracle8i database to analyze back in the lab.The software was written in C and C++, and runs under Microsoft Windows 98 or higher.The van also includes a time lapse VCR and a small video monitor so researchers can tell what has been recorded.Smith said the van is being used in several projects.It is being used to measure the effectiveness of a cellular phone geolocator system being tested by U.S. Wireless Corp. of San Ramon, Calif. Researchers collect data using the video system to compare the accuracy of the travel speed information the cellular system is providing.Researchers also are using the van to test traffic signal timing. They measure driver deceleration rates when lights turn yellow. Another project consists of analyzing how drivers behave in work zones and how they respond to warning signs.The van may also be used to analyze variable speed limits as a way to curb congestion, Smith added.'We look at this like weather forecasting,' Smith said. 'You need to have a lot of data to forecast the weather, and the more data we collect about traffic, the more we can model how traffic will respond.'

A customized van gives the Virginia Transportation Research Council real-time traffic data that can be analyzed back at the lab.

Beefed-up van gives state government a look at how things are where the rubber meets the road









Collects data anywhere







Candid camera



















NEXT STORY: Current Issue Crossword/Puzzle

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.