ASU engineers working to use traffic cameras to warn residents about urban flooding

car driving through flooded roadA team of researchers led by faculty from Arizona State University are working on a project called “Flood Aware” to warn people about urban flooding. The researchers plan to use traffic cameras pointed at curbs and gutters to observe road intersections, use an image processing algorithm to estimate the depth of the water and then feed the obtained data into an existing model that will forecast areas where flooding has already occurred. Margaret Garcia, an assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, is co-leading the development of the project. She describes the researchers' solution this way: “We want to try to utilize a group of cheap/existing technologies that we could either build upon in a small way or make use of what’s already happening in order to get distributed information, because that’s what’s really important in the urban environment is that we need measurements in a number of different locations in order to make sense of what’s happening and to get useful information to people about areas they might want to avoid.” ASU engineering professors Mikhail Chester and Giuseppe Mascaro are also working on the project.