A Review of Computer Vision Techniques for the Analysis of Urban Traffic Articles uri icon


  • Buch, Norbert
  • Orwell, James

publication date

  • March 2011

start page

  • 920

end page

  • 939


  • 3


  • 12

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1524-9050

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-0016


  • Automatic video analysis from urban surveillance cameras is a fast-emerging field based on computer vision techniques. We present here a comprehensive review of the state-of-the-art computer vision for traffic video with a critical analysis and an outlook to future research directions. This field is of increasing relevance for intelligent transport systems (ITSs). The decreasing hardware cost and, therefore, the increasing deployment of cameras have opened a wide application field for video analytics. Several monitoring objectives such as congestion, traffic rule violation, and vehicle interaction can be targeted using cameras that were typically originally installed for human operators. Systems for the detection and classification of vehicles on highways have successfully been using classical visual surveillance techniques such as background estimation and motion tracking for some time. The urban domain is more challenging with respect to traffic density, lower camera angles that lead to a high degree of occlusion, and the variety of road users. Methods from object categorization and 3-D modeling have inspired more advanced techniques to tackle these challenges. There is no commonly used data set or benchmark challenge, which makes the direct comparison of the proposed algorithms difficult. In addition, evaluation under challenging weather conditions (e.g., rain, fog, and darkness) would be desirable but is rarely performed. Future work should be directed toward robust combined detectors and classifiers for all road users, with a focus on realistic conditions during evaluation.


  • closed-circuit television (cctv); intersection monitoring; road user counting rr; road users; traffic analysis; urban traffic; vehicle classification; vehicle detection; visual surveillance