Ayres Associates' New Video Data Collectors Do Much More Than Tally Vehicles
EAU CLAIRE, WI Engineers and state Departments of Transportation are always looking for ways to improve safety for the traveling public - and they're continually seeking more efficient ways to do it.
Traffic engineers at are leading the charge with the recent purchase of three MioVision Scout video data collection units. The portable units allow our staff to perform traffic counts in a safer and more streamlined fashion. They also bring back more detailed data, which in turn helps to fine-tune the process of determining current levels of traffic and the need for future transportation projects to address the traffic bottlenecks documented by the data.
The camera collected data as part of a master contract work order with the .
So how exactly do these video counters make for better traffic counting? Instead of manually counting traffic from the roadside, analysts can now count traffic electronically by mounting all-weather cameras to a pole or tripod and getting a clear view of the action on the roadway. Staff can set the devices to record for short or long durations; the video collected is then processed and an electronic traffic count summary produced.
"We feel that this is really the trend of the future in traffic engineering data collection because of the value it adds for agencies and clients," said , Ayres Associates' Manager of Traffic Engineering Services.
Information collected can also be easily shared with important stakeholders, including elected officials, public works staff, and members of the public.
Traffic Operations Specialist of Ayres assists with traffic analyses and has already used the new video collection units multiple times in the field, with more deployments planned throughout the summer, including a weeklong continuous study.
The cameras can distinguish between different vehicle classifications and can track pedestrian and bicyclist movements. "This can be a great alternative to manual counts, particularly for long counts, and the data is frequently more accurate than sending a person into the field," said Motl.
Davis pointed out that the video-gathered data could be reviewed several times to learn several layers of information.
"There are little things that, before, there was no way to find out unless you were there and at the time did maybe a subsequent study," said Davis. "If you're counting cars, you can't also run a stopwatch to track the amount of time between cars or how many cars are getting through each cycle. That takes maybe two or more people. Now we have the ability to go back and look at that and still use the same data set. It has a lot more value to the traffic engineer and traffic analyst."