Analysis of Traffic Camera Footage to Support Vision Zero
As part of Washington, DC’s Vision Zero initiative, Mayor Bowser announced the Video Analytics Towards Vision Zero project, a cutting-edge partnership between the District and Microsoft that will use video footage and crowdsourcing to prevent traffic accidents. The project will tap artificial intelligence and new technologies to analyze traffic camera video footage and use near-miss collisions to predict where crashes are likely to occur in the future.
“Using video analytics to achieve Vision Zero is one more way we are building a smarter, safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “Residents know traffic issues in their neighborhoods better than anyone, and now we will be able to leverage their knowledge with our existing camera infrastructure in order to prevent crashes and injuries before they occur.”
The District has over 130 closed circuit television cameras around the city that are used to observe traffic conditions at intersections, and as part of this project, Microsoft has developed a crowdsourcing platform that will allow members of the public to review video footage and use tracking tools to identify movements and objects. People will be able to identify objects such as pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and motor-vehicles. The feedback will be used as part of a process where people will teach computers how to tell the difference between different movements and modes of transportation. Ultimately, instead of a person watching hours of video, computer algorithms will be able to analyze millions of hours of footage.
“The video analytics project will help us identify potential hazards at intersections throughout the District. Traditionally, we have used crash data for this purpose, but this new approach will help DDOT detect problems before crashes happen and before anyone is injured,” explained DDOT Interim Director Jeff Marootian.
“Computer vision algorithms applied to video feeds from traffic cameras have a huge potential of improving traffic flow and reducing traffic crashes and fatalities. We are working diligently on this because we truly believe the societal impact will be significant,” said Microsoft Research Distinguished Scientist Victor Bahl.
Residents can participate in the crowdsourcing platform by visiting the program website: http://www.ite.org/visionzero/videoanalytics/.
Vision Zero is the District’s plan to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries to people walking, biking, and driving within Washington, DC by the year 2024. To learn more about Washington, DC’s Vision Zero initiative, visit ddot.dc.gov/page/vision-zero-initiative.