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Fiber Optic Sensing for Highway Traffic

In urban environments, monitoring wide-area traffic is a crucial challenge. The effectiveness of this monitoring is critical in determining the time it takes to respond to accidents, congestion,  rock falls, landslides, and other issues. Fiber optics sensing technology can conquer this challenge with its ability to measure the vibration of passing objects along the length of a buried fiber cable.

When optical pulses are injected from one end of the cable and transmitted to the other end, scattering occurs and generates back-propagating light at the points of each small segment along the cable. When an extramural vibration occurs at any point along the cable line,Vibration amplitude acting on each segment can be measured by analyzing the corresponding backpropagated light.

When a traffic crash happens a large vibration impulse would be generated, even if the traffic accident does not involve a crash it may cause delays in incoming traffic, which fiber optics can detect rapidly.

The fast response from fiber optics can be critical for taking action, especially in outlying places where it could be less affordable to introduce an arrangement of many traffic cameras.

While most modern highway roads have an existing fiber-optic buried, the fiber optics sensing technology utilizes the same fiber to measure the vibrations of passing vehicles, it is also possible to detect average speeds, traffic flow rates, and the number of vehicles.

To broaden the benefits of the fiber optic system it could be integrated with Artificial Intelligent to analyze the signals by measuring the traffic flow rate and the slow down in the traffic, moreover, AI can be trained to recognize over-weight and zone-restricted vehicles and classify them based on the intensity of the vibration, therefore realizing a complete traffic monitoring system.