Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Detecting Traffic Incidents

A graphic representation of incident detection system components.
This "cloverleaf" represents an area with high potential for traffic incidents.
A transportation operations center for incident detection and traffic management.

By Lee J. Nelson
Contributing Editor

Complex flow theories are used to describe and predict behavior by Traffic Modeling Algorithms. Again, when the actual situation departs from projected conditions, an incident is proclaimed.

Three effectiveness criteria are employed in assessing and cross-comparing performance of incident detection algorithms. All are indicators of relative accuracy:

Detection rate, customarily expressed as a percentage, is the ratio of reported incidents to all incidents, occurring over a specified interval;

False alarm rate, also expressed as a percentage, is the number of erroneous warnings versus all decisions made by the system under non-incident conditions during a fixed time period; and,

Mean time to detect is the average amount of time for a system to ascertain and advise of a legitimate incident.

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