Investigating the ability of automated license plate recognition camera systems to measure travel times in work zones
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This thesis evaluates the performance of a vehicle detection technology, Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) camera systems, with regards to its ability to produce real-time travel time information in active work zones. A literature review was conducted to investigate the ALPR technology as well as to identify other research that has been conducted using ALPR systems to collect travel time information. Next, the ALPR technology was tested in a series of field deployments in both an arterial and a freeway environment. The goal of the arterial field deployment was to evaluate the optimal ALPR camera angles that produce the highest license plate detection rates and accuracy percentages. Next, a series of freeway deployments were conducted on corridors of I-285 in Atlanta, Georgia in order to evaluate the ALPR system in active work zone environments. During the series of I-285 freeway deployments, ALPR data was collected in conjunction with data from Bluetooth and radar technologies, as well as from high definition video cameras. The data collected during the I-285 deployments was analyzed to determine the ALPR vehicle detection rates. Additionally, a script was written to match the ALPR reads across two data collection stations to determine the ALPR travel times through the corridors. The ALPR travel time data was compared with the travel time data produced by the Bluetooth and video cameras with a particular focus on identifying travel time biases associated with each given technology. Finally, based on the knowledge gained, recommendations for larger-scale ALPR work zone deployments as well as suggestions for future research are provided.