This research was funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, and Portland State University.
Signalized intersections -- Research, Intelligent sensors, Traffic monitoring, Traffic safety, Pedestrian safety, Safety measures -- Technological innovations
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) need traffic data to run smoothly. At intersections, where there is the greatest potential for conflicts between road users, being able to reliably and intelligently monitor the different modes of traffic is crucial.
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that more than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections. For pedestrians the intersection is a particularly dangerous place: the City of Portland, OR identified that two-thirds of all crashes involving a pedestrian happen at intersections. And when darkness comes earlier in fall and winter, crashes increase dramatically. So knowing what's going on in low-visibility conditions is essential for mobility and safety of all road users.
Some agencies use cameras to monitor traffic modes, but cameras are limited in rainy, dark or foggy conditions. Some cities use radar instead of cameras, which works better in low-visibility but typically can't provide as rich a picture of what's going on. Conventional radar gives movement and position data for all approaching entities, but it's very hard to tell the difference between modes with any reliability.
In this project, researchers at the University of Arizona tackled the issue by developing a high-resolution radar sensor that can reliably distinguish between cars and pedestrians. This sensor also supplies the counts, speed, and direction of each moving target, no matter what the lighting and weather are like.
Cao, S., Wu, Y. Jin, F., Project Brief. New Radar Sensor Technology for Intelligent Multimodal Traffic Monitoring at Intersections NITC-RR-1296. Portland, OR: Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), 2021