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NOCoE News: Turning Existing Cameras into Traffic Sensors

UMass-Lowell wins the Transpo Techno Tourney for a solution that leverages existing infrastructure to increase traffic management capabilities.

August 19, 2021
UMass-Lowell Wins 2021 Student Tournament
By: Adam Hopps
Interim Managing Director, NOCoE
Congratulations to the student team from University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMass-Lowell) who took top honors at the 2021 Transportation Technology Tournament with an interdisciplinary approach to turn existing traffic cameras into smart sensors using artificial intelligence. Their winning presentation can be found here.

The annual Transportation Technology Tournament challenges student teams to solve real-world transportation problems by leveraging existing infrastructure and maximizing the use of operations and Intelligent Transportations Systems (ITS) strategies. The tournament – a partnership of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ITS Joint Program Office Professional Capacity Building Program (ITS JPO PCB) and the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) – seeks to build on transportation curriculums by teaching problem solving, communications, and team building skills with students with a variety of educational backgrounds.

The winning team from UMass-Lowell featured students from both civil engineering and computer science programs who proposed equipping existing traffic video cameras with automated data collection and incident detection features; exemplifying how low-cost solutions can easily retrofit legacy ITS equipment to maximize both service life and benefits.

Finalists delivered a 10-minute presentation to the panel of judges from the public and private sectors and academia. Judges ask detailed and pointed questions to challenge the teams on their solution’s cost, lifecycle benefits, maintenance, and overall feasibility. Details on each of the finalists teams and their solutions can be found below.

For more information on participating in the tournament, please see the Transportation Technology Tournament homepage or contact me directly
Problem Statement
Massachusetts DOT (MassDOT) has deployed hundreds of traffic cameras on major highways. The videos from these traffic cameras are reviewed manually often to verify incidents. It would be helpful to develop algorithms to automatically analyze such videos (i.e., identify abnormal scenarios, extract traffic flow parameters) and generate alerts, turning these existing traffic cameras into smart and cost-effective traffic sensors.
The University of Memphis - The Buzz Team
Problem Statement
Rural ITS Solutions for I-40 at Rockwood and I-75 Jellico Mountain. These areas experience high crash rates due to weather and grade conditions. This area also experiences rockslides.
The University of Memphis - Trucking Tigers Team
Problem Statement
The Trucking Tigers have selected to pursue the shortage of truck parking in Tennessee alongside the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).
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Adam Hopps
Interim Managing Director


About the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE)

NOCoE provides services to the transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) community to saves lives, improve travel times, and enhance economic vitality. With an emphasis on workforce development, NOCoE aims to assist in the deployment of technologies and the mainstreaming of TSMO solutions by fostering education, networking, communication, and knowledge transfer.

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