Evaluation of a Video Image Detection System

Report No: 94-R22

Published in 1994

About the report:

A video image detection system (VIDS) is an advanced wide-area traffic monitoring system that processes input from a video camera. The Autoscope VIDS coupled with an information management system was selected as the monitoring device because testing had shown it to be the most advanced system available with respect to performance, reliability, and accuracy. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the capabilities of the VIDS. The primary objective was to assess the performance of the VIDS for incident detection, and a secondary objective was to examine its capability to monitor traffic. Existing hardware was to be used for the VIDS as much as possible in order to fit the VIDS into the existing TMS Center operations and to minimize additional costs. Based on an evaluation that focused on traffic monitoring, the VIDS performed unsatisfactorily at two sites and satisfactorily at a third site. The location of the video camera relative to the monitoring site, which is critical to effective operations of the VIDS, was the major cause of the unsatisfactory performance. The primary objective was not achieved. The potential for using the Autoscope at existing camera locations in Northern Virginia is limited. Based on the performance of the Autoscope at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, it was concluded that it is difficult to accurately return an Autoscope camera to its monitoring position after it is moved for surveillance. A dedicated camera is necessary for the VIDS. Recommendations were made for the use of the VIDS and for project planning and contract administration for future projects of this nature.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Brian L. Smith, Ph.D.

Last updated: December 23, 2023

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