Transportation Lab Gets Video Boost

Transportation Lab Gets Video Boost
Professor Xudong Jia says the new video traffic monitoring system will enhance student projects in civil engineering.
Iteris Inc., a traffic management company, donated about $20,000 in equipment to the transportation lab.

Civil engineering students studying transportation design will be aided by a new cutting-edge video traffic monitoring system, thanks to a donation from Santa Ana-based Iteris Inc. The traffic management company donated about $20,000 in equipment, including video cameras, DVD recorders and a processor that will allow students to observe real-time traffic from the Civil Engineering Department's transportation lab.

“Seeing is believing,” says Xudong Jia, civil engineering professor. “This is an introduction into a new technology called ITS or intelligent transportation system. We're creating a very good environment for learn-by-doing projects.”

Added to the laboratory's existing traffic controller equipment, which can control up to six traffic signals, the video system will allow students to watch recorded videos and manage the flow of cars in a simulated environment. Currently, students have to go outside to watch cars moving through an intersection. After taking notes and snapping a few photos, they return to the classroom to draw up solutions to optimize traffic.

Roger Koehler, product marketing manager for Iteris, says video traffic monitoring systems are the wave of the future. They are much preferred over underground metal sensors, which are costly to install, maintain and repair. With video cameras pointed at each direction, traffic controllers get a live picture and can optimize traffic. Video monitoring systems have image processing capabilities that can detect stopped vehicles, roadway debris, wrong way drivers, fire or smoke, and can also collect various data.

With future support from industry partners, Jia hopes to add live video feeds from the Temple Avenue and South Campus Drive intersection to the transportation lab.