Sensing for HOV/HOT Lanes Enforcement

Ted Morris, Vassilios Morellas, Dario J. Canelon, Nikolaos P. Papanikolopoulos
February 2017
Report no. MnDOT 2017-05


The use and creation of combined high-occupancy vehicle/high-occupancy toll (HOV/HOT Lanes) have become more common in urban areas since all types of road users can take advantage of the lane either as a high-occupancy vehicle or opting in to pay a congestion adjusted free. However, to maintain working integrity of the lanes for all users, stepped enforcement to discourage cheating has been needed as more lanes are added. This study evaluated the capability of a novel image sensor device to automate detection of in-vehicle occupants to flag law enforcement of HOV/HOT lane violators. The sensor device synchronously captures three co-registered images, one in the visible spectrum and two others in the infrared bands. The key idea is that the infrared bands can enhance correct occupancy detection through known phenomenological spectral properties of objects and humans residing inside the vehicle. Several experiments were conducted to determine this capability across varied conditions and scenarios to assess detection segmentation algorithms of vehicle passengers and drivers. Although occupancy detection through vehicle glass could be achieved in many cases, improvements must be made to such a detection system to increase robustness and reliability as a law enforcement tool. These improvements were guided by the experimental results, as well as suggested methods for deployment if this or similar technologies were to be deployed in the future.

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Sponsored by: Minnesota Department of Transportation