2022 Transportation Forecasting Competition winners
Twenty-three teams from across the country recently dug into data from Chattanooga to find ways to make street intersections safer for pedestrians with disabilities, in wheelchairs, the elderly, even people pushing baby strollers.
Sponsored by the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the 2022 Transportation Forecasting Competition had teams examine data from the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Georgia Avenue next to Miller Park.
“CUIP’s goal from the beginning has been to make urban healthy, livable and accessible for all,” and this specific project is looking at accessibility of our roads for those with disability, elderly, and overall those that may need more time, ” said Mina Sartipi, director of CUIP.
Results of the research competition—co-sponsored by the City of Chattanooga, Ouster LiDAR, Seoul Robotics and the National Science Foundation—were presented Jan. 11 during a workshop at the annual Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington, D.C.
The winners—the University of Michigan, the University of Washington and the Korea institute of Science and Technology—were awarded monetary prizes provided by Ouster and Seoul.
Statistics show pedestrian wheelchair users are 36% more likely to be killed in a road accident than the general public. Police reports often do not keep records on whether a victim was using a wheelchair or has a disability, so it is difficult to determine the risk factors that make the intersections more dangerous for those with disabilities.
In their research, teams in the Transportation Forecasting Competition used LiDAR data gathered by Ouster visual sensors located at the MLK Boulevard/Georgia Avenue intersection. The data was run through software from Seoul Robotics, and the end result were 3D representations to find potential danger spots for disabled and elderly pedestrians.
“This is a great opportunity for them to work with real-world data from LiDARs and traffic signal controllers to analyze the safety of crossing for vulnerable road users,” Sartipi said. “Another great example of working closely with the City of Chattanooga and industry partners.”