Thousand Eyes on California's Streets, Roads, and Infrastructures

This project will explore the development of technologies that will dramatically increase the level of video surveillance of our transportation network and its infrastructure. This technology leverages two key ideas. First, the ubiquity of cell phones permits citizen sensing, in which ordinary citizens can report accurate and timely information using these net-connected mobile devices. Second, the emergence of video capability allows such reports to contain rich visual detail that might otherwise not be available. This project strives to design and develop a real-time information system that allows for dense and widespread surveillance, but centralized evaluation and comparison. Essentially, this allows citizens to take videos of ongoing traffic and of the transportation infrastructure, and automatically, and almost instantaneously, transmit them to a centralized server. Thus, truckers might report on commercial goods movement problems, and ordinary citizens might capture problems of safety and security. These videos are annotated with position information (through GPS), and they are also time-stamped. At the centralized server, and at any Internet-accessible site, these reports can be analyzed quickly by transportation and security experts, who can then appropriately respond to the incident at hand. Compared to existing methods, this approach requires little investment, and can increase, by an order of magnitude, the number of perspectives into the transportation system.