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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Departments Merge Expertise for Transportation Research Project

August 2, 2005

Three units of the College of Engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington are combining their strengths to develop low-cost, high-efficiency cameras, mounts and poles for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). TxDOT will utilize the new systems to monitor traffic conditions on high-density sections of highways across the state.

TxDOT currently has more than 835 cameras mounted on poles. Sometimes the pictures from these cameras provide little or no usable information because of vibrations caused by wind or passing traffic. Researchers in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) and the Automation & Robotics Research Institute (ARRI) are working together to design image stabilization devices and algorithms to correct this problem and also eliminate the need for poles of high strength and stiffness.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Ali Abolmaali is the lead investigator on the project and is being assisted by CEE’s Dr. Guillermo Ramirez, CSE’s Dr. Farhad Kamangar and ARRI’s Dr. Raul Fernandez. “Current camera poles are over-designed,” said Dr. Abolmaali. “With damping devices and image processing, we’ll be able to create a system that will allow TxDOT to mount these cameras on less-stiff poles and other structures – traffic signals, bridges, signs. They’ll end up with a better picture and save taxpayers a lot of money through lower material and installation costs.”

Dr. Kamangar will concentrate on the image processing, Dr. Fernandez on the vibration damping devices, Dr. Ramirez with field and laboratory tests, and Dr. Abolmaali on dynamic finite element modeling and actual lab tests of 60 pole configurations. The two-year, $242,000 project begins in September. Test installations of the completed systems will be made in Amarillo, Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston.