KSU professors use DOT cameras to make intersections safer

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In 2017, more than 1,500 people died in wrecks on Georgia roads. It's a terrible number DOT officials want to eliminate.

The agency is funding programs and studies, to try and make your roads safer and engineers at Kennesaw State University are using cameras to help save lives.

Imagine if there's a way to locate a dangerous intersection before someone dies in a crash. A team of professors at Kennesaw State University is testing out software to help spot those problems on camera before a wreck turns deadly.

Jidong Yang is an assistant professor at KSU. He's working to help prove an international principle, called Vision Zero, that says wrecks don't have to happen.

"They think the crash is preventable. You can prevent it from happening. So actually you have to do something proactively," says Dr. Yang.

Right now, dangerous intersections are identified with the help of crash data but the information takes time to gather, and can sometimes lag months or even years behind.

"You have to wait until the crash occurs to be able to say, 'Oh, this intersection is more dangerous than others,'" Dr. Yang adds.

Instead, the Georgia DOT is funding a software that would monitor intersections in real time, using existing cameras. This will allow them to track the risks of a crash, and essentially prevent some collisions before they happen

"You'll be able to diagnose the issue before they occur before the crash occurs, so that's going to save a lot of lives," Dr. Yang says.

The program will allow safety officials to be more proactive when it comes to improving problem intersections. They can realign roadways, adjust speed limits, change turn signals, or add safety enhancements without waiting on wrecks to pile up.

"That's my passion. I want to contribute to the highway safety, make everybody travel safer, so that's really rewarding when I think about it," Dr. Yang says modestly.

The Georgia DOT is funding the $180,000 study. It's wrapping up its second year and is almost ready to test in a small area of cameras.