Video Analytics analyzes traffic camera video footage and uses near-miss collisions to predict where future crashes are likely to occur. Traffic engineers could then take corrective action to prevent them. File photo

Bellevue video analytics project receives safety award

An innovative project that uses new technologies in an effort to prevent death and serious injuries from traffic crashes has earned a national safety award.

The “Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero Partnership” is a collaboration between the city of Bellevue, Microsoft, the University of Washington and more than two dozen other organizations across North America.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers presented their 2017 Transportation Achievement Award for Safety to Video Analytics this week at the groups’ joint annual meeting in Toronto.

“Video Analytics is an example of the innovation and collaboration our organization strives for every day,” said Transportation Director Dave Berg. “We’re very pleased that ITE has recognized this important effort and its potential to make streets safer.”

Video Analytics analyzes traffic camera video footage and uses near-miss collisions to predict where future crashes are likely to occur. Traffic engineers could then take corrective action to prevent them.

The technology draws on crowd-sourcing and machine learning to teach computers how to tell the difference between cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and walkers. Project organizers want as many people as possible to help by watching traffic camera video and using tracking tools to identify objects and movements. The crowd-sourcing is critical to the project’s success.

In other updates since the Video Analytics project launched in early June:

More than 500 people have visited the project website to identify objects in the video for project computers. Organizers want more people to participate;

Microsoft is working with project partners to develop “dashboards,” based on data from the traffic videos, that show turning movements at intersections. Eventually, such data could be used to more quickly recognize and adjust signals to keep traffic moving, and to identify and respond to emergencies; and

The project welcomed its first overseas partner with the addition of the Shenzhen Urban Transport Planning Center in Shenzhen, China. The organization will help promote the crowd-sourcing initiative and provide access to live feeds of traffic footage for analysis. Additional government, research and nonprofit organizations communities could be added to the collaboration in the future.

The potential of Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero to impact safety is substantial. In Bellevue last year there were 433 traffic collisions involving injuries, 39 bicycle crashes and 47 pedestrian collisions, including one fatality. Vision Zero is an international initiative that aims to end all traffic deaths and serious injuries on streets by 2030.

People interested in contributing to the crowdsourcing effort can do so by visiting www.ite.org/visionzero/videoanalytics

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