The American city of Philadelphia is testing out technology to track pedestrians, attaching sensors to 14 streetlights along a single street, in order to track environmental factors and how pavements are being used.
The website BillyPenn reports that the SmartBlockPHL pilot is run by the city in collaboration with Comcast, Juganu, and US Ignite — a Science Foundation-led initiative that promotes “the smart community movement.”
The technology can detect and collect real-time data on pedestrian, vehicular, and bicycle traffic and weather conditions like air quality and humidity. The sensors were installed and calibrated last July, according to SmartCitiesPHL Director Emily Yates. Data collection began in December 2021 and will continue through the end of this year.
The report says the technology was initially conceived early in the pandemic to potentially look at streeteries, and assess in real-time whether COVID safety measures were being followed — and possibly trigger text notifications if violations were detected.
As conditions changed, the team changed their goal.
“We decided that we should just keep it simple and look at things that we’re already doing,” Yates told the website, “like assessing pedestrian or car traffic at an intersection, but “can we do that with technology, so that we don’t have to send out individuals to do manual counting.”
(Picture – Phila.gov)