IoT street lights monitor traffic and speed
Over 200 traffic sensors are mounted inside street lights in Portland, Oregon to monitor traffic volume and speed and reduce the number of accidents on the streets. (Picture: Shutterstock)
STREET LIGHTS connected to the internet are monitoring the volume and speed of traffic in the centre to Portland, Oregon.
Over 200 traffic sensors are mounted inside the street lights at three dangerous and busy streets, hoping to ultimately reduce the number of accidents on the streets.
The sensors record counts of vehicles and pedestrians and track vehicle speeds 24 hours a day. Traffic engineers from the Portland Burea of Transportation will mine the data produced by the sensors to improve safety and optimise the flow of traffic in the city.
‘Designing safe streets starts with good data,’ Bureau of Transportation director Leah Treat told Lux. ‘Until now, collecting this data was time and volunteer intensive. Now with these smart sensors, we can get real-time data about how Portlanders are using our streets. As a result, our traffic engineers will be smarter and Portlanders will be safer.’
The Portland Bureau of Transportation teamed up with the local utility, Portland General Electric, to implement the project. working with Current, powered by GE, semiconductor giant Intel and the wireless business unit of telecoms giant AT&T.
The sensors being installed will be connected over the AT&T LTE wireless network.
The project is being undertaken as part of the city’s Smart City initiative that is focused on the use of data and technology to improve the lives of its citizens.
‘Portland is leading the country in this important data effort,’ said Mayor Ted Wheeler. ‘We are at the forefront of using advanced technology to make our cities safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, helping people more easily get around, save time, and reduce the possibility of crashes. This pilot is a significant step in acquiring and utilising data to make critical decisions.’
The sensors being deployed were manufactured by Current and are part of the CityIQ smart city technology platform that also includes an application development platform, connectivity support, cloud APIs (application programming interfaces), and application programs supplied by Current or its IoT ecosystem partners.
Current said it can support emergency response, vibration and seismic detection, audio detection including gunshots, weather monitoring, video, and Wi-Fi hotspot applications on the platform. The CityIQ sensors being deployed in Portland are based on Intel IoT enabling technology including Intel Atom microprocessors and Intel security software.
Current said the CityIQ system being installed in Portland is upgradeable to support emerging applications. Such CityIQ applications would run on the AT&T cloud with analytics enabled by Current’s Predix software platform.
‘Portland is a great example of how every city is able to tailor their solution to meet specific challenges and opportunities,’ said Austin Ashe, Smart Cities general manager at Current. ‘For example, we will be working with Portland to extract bicycle data to better understand the bicycle traffic volume and cyclists’ interactions with vehicle and pedestrian traffic to improve safety for all.’
Current and AT&T have partnered on other smart city projects. For example, a project in Atlanta in 2017 involved 1,000 wirelessly connected street lights. Indeed, AT&T can distribute the CityIQ sensors in North America.
The Portland project will cost just over $1 million. It included the need to upgrade the mast arms on the poles. Funds came from general transportation revenue in the city and unspecified contributions from the companies involved in the project.
  • Maury Wright is editor of LEDs Magazine, where this article was first published