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    Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 10:53am
Brian Smith is a transportation expert from UVA who sat on the panel that approved HOT on our behalf. Regarding the verification of passenger quantity on toll roads, he wrote me:

Mr. ******* - (my name)
As the report states, I am not familiar with any technology that allows for the independent, automated "counting" of vehicle occupants as the vehicle travels at highway speeds. For this reason, enforcement of HOV occupant restrictions is a manual process.

Hope this helps - have a good weekend as well.

Brian


--On Friday, May 27, 2005 10:32 AM -0400 author wrote:

> Thanks for your reply, Dr. Smith. I have actually made something of a study of HOV and HOT lane projects and have been through the FHWA doc several times. My question for you is a little more specific, and refers to the statement:
>
> "The primary reason that facilities for on site enforcement are recommended near the access points is that current technologies - both video and thermal - cannot accurately discern the number of occupants in large numbers of vehicles traveling at highway speeds." Chapter 5.1.4 of FHWA's HOT primer.
>
> What I'm wondering is if you can tell me, given the limitations
mentioned above, how can HOV presence be verified on a toll road?
>
> Thank you for your assistance -- hope you have a nice, traffic-free
Memorial Day!
>
> Bob
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 11:06am
So what does that mean?

It means that there is no way to count passengers (esp. in the back seat or in a van, for instance,) in a vehicle traveling at highway speeds.

So you cannot enforce HOV restrictions in a mix of SOV and HOV vehicles because no camera can tell who should pay and who should not. Nor can a cop sitting by the road tell who is paying and who is not.

Because HOV restrictions cannot be enforced, they cannot be allowed.

In other words: without passenger number verification, Transurban/Fluor will have to charge EVERY vehicle passing under the gantry the SAME amount because the gantry cannot distinguish between SOVs and HOVs.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SpongeBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2009 at 12:22pm
Transurban plans to deploy a special "skin-detecting" technology to verify the number of passengers on the toll roads. The cameras will be aimed in through the front windows and can detect human skin and thus count passengers. They claim this technology will also detect back seat passengers through tinted windows. It cannot detect through non-glass surfaces or when obstructed by blinds or other objects.

Vehicles on the toll roads will be required to carry a transponder to enable on-the-fly tolling. The transponder will have a switch to indicate a regular vehicle or an HOV and send a signal to the detectors mounted on overhead gantries every mile or so. Presumably the police on the tollway will have some means of detecting your transponder switch setting, too, and can then perform a visual verification that you are, or are not, an HOV.

Will it work? They are betting the future of ridesharing in NoVA on it. I'm betting that it won't work too well in the rain at 5:00 p.m. on December 10th.

It would certainly work better to verify HOV2, right? Think that will promote much ride-sharing?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote n/a Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2009 at 2:59pm
So, why aren't I shocked about this? I fear that HOV will be a memory soon, as the almighty $$ leads the charge into our commuting future!

HOT lanes are highway robbery!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CallmeMrSlug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2009 at 11:45pm
Nice to see the Spongester back and telling it like it will be...
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