Deployment of Practical Methods for Counting Bicycle and Pedestrian Use of a Transportation Facility

Source: University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies

The classification problem of distinguishing bicycles from pedestrians for traffic counting applications is the objective of this research project. The scenes that are typically involved are bicycle trails, bridges, and bicycle lanes. These locations have heavy traffic of mainly pedestrians and bicyclists. A vision-based system overcomes many of the shortcomings of existing technologies such as loop counters, buried pressure pads, infra-red counters, etc. These methods do not have distinctive profiles for bicycles and pedestrians. Also most of these technologies require expert installation and maintenance. Cameras are inexpensive and abundant and are relatively easy to use, but they tend to be useful as a counting system only when accompanied by powerful algorithms that analyze the images. We employ state-of-the-art algorithms for performing object classification to solve the problem of distinguishing bicyclists from pedestrians. We detail the challenges that are involved in this particular problem, and we propose solutions to address these challenges. We explore common approaches of global image analysis aided by motion information and compare the results with local image analysis in which we attempt to distinguish the individual parts of the composite object. We compare the classification accuracies of both approaches on real data and present detailed discussion on practical deployment factors.

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