Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (M.S.E.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Pedestrian detection, Pedestrian counting, Transportation planning, Computer vision, Autoscope, Histogram of oriented gradients


This thesis implements an automated system that counts pedestrians with 85% accuracy. Two approaches have been considered and evaluated in terms of count accuracy, cost and ease of deployment. The first approach employs the Autoscope Solo Terra, a traffic camera which is widely used to monitor vehicular traffic. The Solo Terra supports an image processing-based detector that counts the number of objects crossing user-defined areas in the captured image. The count is updated based on the amount of movement across the selected regions. Therefore, a second approach has been considered that uses a histogram of oriented gradients (HoG), an advanced vision based algorithm proposed by Dalal et al. which distinguishes a pedestrian from a non-pedestrian based on an omega shape formed by the head and shoulders of a human being. The implemented detection software processes video frames that are streamed from a low-cost digital camera. The frames are divided into sub-regions which are scanned for an omega shape whenever movement is detected in those regions. It has been found that the HoG-based approach degrades in performance due to occlusion under dense pedestrian traffic conditions whereas the Solo Terra approach appears to be more robust. Undercounts and overcounts were encountered using the Solo Terra approach. To combat the disadvantages of both the approaches, they were integrated to form a single system where count is incremented predominantly using the Solo Terra. The HoG-based approach corrects the obtained count under certain conditions. A preliminary prototype of the integrated system has been verified.

First Advisor

Russell Tessier