U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations



Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-13-0070
Project Name:   Multisensor System for Vehicle Detection of 13 Classes (081-FH4), Phase 2b
Project Status:   Completed
Start Date:  June 26, 2013
End Date:  June 26, 2015
Contact Information
Last Name:  Gibson
First Name:  David P
Telephone:  202-493-3271
E-mail:  david.gibson@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Operations Research and Development
Team:   Trans Enabling Technologies Team [HRDO-10]
Program:   Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR) (2% of Adjusted CA)
Project detail
Project Description:   Traffic sensors for detection of motorcycles approaching signals have not been sufficiently robust. False negatives indicating the absence of motorcycles when motorcycles are present can induce motorcyclists to run the red indication, creating a potentially hazardous situation. This project will extend the capabilities of vision-based motorcycle sensors by adding a stereo vision component; note that the policy office is also interested in this project¬†because it is currently difficult to characterize vehicle miles of travel for motorcycles due to the lack of sensors, which accurately count and classify motorcycles as separate vehicles. This project hopes to accomplish¬†the following: (1) Verify whether stereo vision and sound emission measurement performs well for motorcycle detection.(2) Identify critical gaps regarding the collection and processing of stereo vision data, and what hardware techniques or algorithms might be used to add to the stereo motorcycle detection techniques to add robustness to the classification and separate motorcycles from bicycles and mopeds.(3) Conduct laboratory and field tests of improved hardware and algorithms.
The key project objective is to detect motorcycles with advanced sensors.
Background Information:   Final Report received 12/20/2012. Based on final report a follow up phase IIb project was recommended. The proposal has been received from Volpe and is in evaluation.
Test Methodology:   test prototype in lab, then test prototype in field.
Partners:   U.S. Department of Transportation: Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA); Role(s): Other stakeholder
Expected Benefits:   Motorcycles will reliably obtain green signal indications at signalized intersections. Motorcycle miles of travel will be more accurately estimated.
Project Findings:   An advanced sensor can reliably detect motorcycles.
FHWA Topics:   Safety--Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety
TRT Terms:   Motorcycles
Vehicle Miles of Travel
Highway Traffic Control
FHWA Disciplines:   Operations
Subject Areas:   Operations and Traffic Management
Pedestrians and Bicyclists


Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101