What Are Vehicle Occupancy Detection Cameras?

California Deploys Cameras to Catch Carpool Cheaters
California Deploys Cameras to Catch Carpool Cheaters

One of those expenditures is $30 million for an HOV electronic enforcement pilot. According to the letter, the pilot will “deploy permanent car occupancy-detection equipment at strategic locations along freeway HOV and/or Express Toll Lanes” along I-405. This pilot is intended to reduce carpool violations – or people who try to cheat the system and use the toll lanes for free. 

carpool lane only 2 or more person per vehicle

No tickets or warnings are being issued, but that could change if Bay Area transportation officials are convinced that the technology is the next-generation enforcement answer to a growing number of scofflaws who, despite the risk of a heavy fine, use the region’s restricted carpool lanes to shave time off their commute.  

PhotoEnforced.com has a database map of toll & HOV road camera locations that could be used to enforce carpool lane cheating in the future. 

carpool hov camera locations map

Intelligent transport systems are increasingly being used to reduce traffic congestion. In a rush of unobtrusive technology, manufacturers are developing vehicles equipped with systems for recognizing vehicle occupants. These include standard infrared cameras that can detect human skin and systems that illuminate the images to make them easier to read. The camera captures the cars in front and back, including the license plate, driver's seat, and front passenger seat.      

These intelligent toll collection systems have now been developed in some locations. This version can use multiple cameras at different points in the vehicle to take multiple images to determine the number of passengers. In addition, the computer system can analyze the images provided in real-time using computer vision, using a combination of image processing algorithms and human-machine interaction to determine the number of passengers currently in a vehicle.     

This method combines surveillance cameras with infrared laser technology to take a photo of the vehicle as it passes. The system uses a variety of tools to enable a vehicle to look through dark-tinted windshields and count the occupants. This method is designed to allow the detection of vehicles with multiple cameras at different points on the road, such as front, rear, and side.    

Some lawmakers have tried to change the law because the technology requires a picture of the face to count the number of passengers in the vehicle and whether the occupant is a real passenger. To address concerns that the camera is looking into the vehicles, reading the license plate, and recording the occupants, the video must be collected to identify the actual occupants of a vehicle, not just the driver's seat. 

California law limits the use of automated cameras to issuing tickets to red-light drivers and toll avoiders, but no legislation is required to extend the use of cameras to the number of people. Current state law on automated speed cameras in road traffic does not allow images of the vehicle or its license plate to show the faces of drivers or passengers in the car. The identity of the passengers cannot be determined from the images of the cameras.         

The California Highway Patrol has increased enforcement, assigning dedicated strike teams working overtime shifts to catch the cheats, but the agency has been unable to abate the problem. Lanes created to move at a decent clip are sometimes as sluggish as the regular lanes, triggering rising frustration in drivers legitimately using the carpool lane and in those stuck in the slower lanes watching cheaters pass them by.

This camera technology is also be used to identify who has parked the vehicle by taking a snapshot of the person parked in the car. By combining number plate recognition and occupant recognition, you can track which car occupies which space. 


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