AI-based vehicle occupancy detection to be deployed on Virginia’s I-66


Spanish transportation technology developer and consultancy Indra has been awarded a US$83.7m (EUR75m) contract to implement the toll technology that will enable Virginia’s new I-66 Express Lanes to operate with an innovative, dynamic fare system.

The I-66 Outside the Beltway project award was made by the I-66 Express Mobility Partners concession company, 50% owned by Cintra, which will design, build, operate and maintain the scheme. Once completed in 2022, the 22 miles (35.4km) long I-66 highway segment, from I-495 to US Highway 29 near Gainesville, will have three free lanes and two managed lanes with a dynamic tolling system. Indra will implement a free-flow automatic toll system from its Mova Collect line of solutions, which will detect traffic intensity in real-time, and provide inputs like traffic volume and density, vehicle type, vehicle’s occupants and other variables that support the calculation of congestion-based dynamic toll fares. Indra’s solution, based on free-flow toll points, allows cars to pass a tolling gantry without having to reduce the vehicle’s speed. This will also be Indra’s first project to have an automatic occupancy detection system integrated with each toll point.

The toll rates in express lanes will change, based on traffic demand along the corridor, with fee alterations as often as every three minutes. This allows the road operators to keep vehicle speeds higher than in the free lanes to provide better service to the express lanes’ users and dynamic charging becomes an advanced traffic management tool. The system will provide sensor technology that will contribute to greater road safety and pollution reduction, making mobility more sustainable in one of the most congested corridors in the USA. Indra’s tolling system is one of the most advanced that currently exists, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) deep learning capabilities, integration with connected vehicles, and the company’s system for automatic occupancy detection.

Indra’s R&D division has created a vehicle occupancy detection (VOD) system that showed the highest accuracy rate in a pilot test performed in San Francisco, compared to the other two global companies that met the minimum criteria required to participate. Due to the application of computer vision and AI, the system can automatically detect, in real-time, non-intrusively and with high reliability, the type of vehicle that travels on the road, as well as the front and rear occupants. helping operators manage the toll collection process. Indra’s dynamic toll solution will also be able to improve its performance and ‘learn’ through AI as more real-time data is collected during operations.

The system is scalable and has great flexibility to adapt to changes in business and vehicle classification rules required by the client. Indra’s contract with I-66 Express Mobility Partners also includes a complete roadside system with communications, intelligent transportation system (ITS), equipment for and interface with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic management centre, and maintenance of the I-66 Outside the Beltway roadside system for up to a year. The company’s traffic management system from its Mova Traffic portfolio will integrate vehicle detection sensors, a video surveillance system (CCTV) and variable message signs (VMS), showing toll fare information and incident-related information.

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.