Research Papers

UAV Applications in Road Safety Engineering

Version 1
Date added June 26, 2017
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Category 2017 CARSP XXVII Toronto
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 3B
Author/Auteur Mark Hearson
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice

Slidedeck Presentation Only (no paper submitted)



The rapid advancement of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology presents unique opportunities in road safety engineering to evaluate and improve road safety. Emerging applications of UAVs for road safety engineering include: 1) road safety audits of new, modified, or existing facilities, 2) traffic monitoring, 3) driver behaviour monitoring, 4) construction site safety monitoring, 5) event monitoring, 6) emergency response and public safety, and 7) video collection that supports surrogate safety analysis, network screening, predictive modeling, and traffic simulation. The first objective of the paper is to document the state of practice of UAV applications in the field of transportation engineering. A technology scan will identify and catalog available UAV systems, payloads (two- and three-dimensional cameras, electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) cameras, LIDAR), autonomous technology, tethers, and persistent aerial systems. The technology scan will support the second objective of providing an inventory of all known applications of UAVs in road safety engineering. The third objective of the paper is to provide a case study of a UAV application in the field of road safety engineering, which will document a pilot project by Fireseeds North Infrastructure. The pilot project includes the use of a UAV to collect intersection video footage for video conflict analysis (VCA) and surrogate safety analysis. The paper presents guidance for transportation engineers and road safety professionals, particularly in provincial, city and municipal public transportation agencies, when assessing relevant applications of UAVs that can support their road safety activities. Three keys activities will inform the paper: 1) an environmental scan, 2) a technology scan, and 3) a pilot project at a rural intersection using a UAV to collect video footage for VCA and surrogate safety analysis. See activities.

Mark Hearson