July 31, 2007 Traffic jams, aside from being extremely frustrating, are also extremely costly. The Texas Transport Institute calculated that during 1996 traffic congestion ate up $74 billion in lost hours and petrol – and with congestion only rising since then it’s a sure bet that even more money has gone down the drain while commuters get nowhere. In an effort to combat congestion, many governments are looking towards car-pooling, offering monetary incentives to businesses that encourage it and introducing high occupancy vehicle lanes. However, a potential problem lies in policing them. To that end, Loughborough University has released the Dtect system – an infra red camera and image processing unit that can determine how many occupants a car has in an instant. And unlike a sleepy toll booth operator, or other photography based systems, it won’t be fooled by dressed up mannequins.
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