ITE part of crowd-sourced project to improve road safety using video analytics


The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is part of a collaboration with the University of Washington and the City of Bellevue in Washington, Microsoft, and organizations across North America. It is asking for the public’s help in a cutting-edge effort to help prevent deaths and serious injuries from traffic crashes.

The ‘Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero’ project will use new technologies to analyze traffic camera video footage available in many cities, and use near-miss collisions to predict where future crashes are likely to occur. Traffic engineers could then take corrective action to prevent those collisions. ITE and the partner organizations are encouraging as many people as possible to help by watching traffic camera videos and using tracking tools to identify objects and movements. The videos and tools for the project are now available on the ITE’s ‘Vision Zero’ website. The crowd-sourced inputs will be used for machine learning computers, teaching them how to tell the difference between cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Ultimately, instead of a person watching a few hours of video, computer algorithms will analyze millions of hours of footage live, in real time. The technology uses near-miss collisions as zero-cost learning opportunities to improve road safety, and holds the potential to dramatically reduce the number of crashes by predicting where, when, and how they are likely to occur. The project’s potential for saving lives is significant. In 2016, road crashes resulted in approximately 40,000 deaths and 4.6 million injuries in the USA alone. For young people under age 19, these collisions were the leading cause of death. 

“The Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero partnership is another example of how ITE’s community of transportation professionals are coming together to support and champion cutting-edge efforts that will save lives on our roadways,” said ITE executive director and CEO Jeffrey F Paniati. “The crowd-sourcing effort is a part of our larger effort to provide our members with the knowledge and tools that will bring us another step closer to zero.”

The ITE has just been selected to provide program support, outreach, administration, and execution of the annual National Rural ITS (NRITS) Conference and Rural ITS Group meetings, by the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO).

Paniati commented, “Through our network of 14,000 members, we will assist the ITS JPO to further promote inter-disciplinary, interagency, and interjurisdictional coordination and cooperation in advancing small community and rural ITS deployment.”

Click here to view a video on how the public can participate in the project.

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).