Cathy Alexander, Aaron Zappone, Nick Owens
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To evaluate the feasibility of utilizing camera phones in managing traffic incidents, a proof-of-concept project was undertaken in a joint partnership between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Transportation Technology. Other parties involved included the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and selected commercial towing companies.

The goal of this project is to improve incident management and response activities in the event of a traffic incident or other emergency situation that affects traffic operations. More specifically, the primary objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) wireless telephones equipped with cameras to capture and deliver traffic incident imagery that is useful to follow-on responders, such as tow companies, HAZMAT remediation services, health departments, or highway repair teams.

This pilot project was implemented in coordination with the Capital Wireless Integrated Network (CapWIN) staff, VDOT, and several local commercial towing and recovery services. Each camera phone employs wireless picture phone technology that enables participating agencies to capture and transmit digital photos. Emergency responders from agencies, such as the VDOT, and private towing firms used camera phones to take detailed pictures of traffic incident scenes and then transmitted those images directly to their appropriate dispatch center and follow-on responders.

During the test phase of the proof-of-concept project, a total of 19 camera phones were used by four towing companies and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) from August through October 2006 to transmit 100 photographs of incidents to responders (i.e., towing companies). The project was conducted in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including Northern Virginia and Maryland.
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Noblis, on the Lessons Learned Web site, based on narrative provided by Nick Owens
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Camera Phone Proof-of-Concept Project – Lessons Learned
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