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HURWITZ LECTURE 2: Measuring Traffic with Wireless Sensors

“If you cannot measure the traffic, don’t expect to control it.”

The literature on traffic management has many ingenious schemes to control signals at intersections and ramps, adapt tolls for countering congestion, improve parking through responsive pricing, and reduce crashes through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. Virtually all these schemes are untested, because of a lack of adequate sensors to measure traffic.

We will describe the Sensys Networks wireless sensor platform for vehicle detection and its use for measuring vehicle flow, occupancy and speed, and estimating queue lengths and the travel time distribution. A test bed to measure the safety and efficiency of an intersection will be discussed. Lastly, two new sensing modalities will be presented: a weigh-in-motion system to estimate truck weight and a micro-radar sensor to measure bicycles, pedestrians, and parked vehicles.

A podcast of the lecture can be found on:

Type of Seminar:
Hurwitz Memorial Lectures
Prof. Pravin Varaiya
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley
May 25, 2012   16:15 - 17:15

HG E 5
Contact Person:

Prof. John Lygeros
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Biographical Sketch:
Pravin Varaiya is Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1975 to 1992 he was also Professor of Economics. His current research interests include transportation networks and electric power systems.

His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Honorary Doctorates, the Field Medal and Bode Prize of the IEEE Control Systems Society, the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, and the Outstanding Research Award of the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society. He is a Fellow of IEEE, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science.