'Sky Eyes' to give Portland real-time road data
At Clinton Park, near S.E. 55th Avenue at Division Street, officials from the City of Portland, and its technology partners, held a "Smart City PDX Traffic Safety Sensor Project Celebration" on Monday morning, June 18.
In addition to the speeches, a newly-installed street light-mounted sensor demonstrated how it was able to provide remote, real-time information about how people are using streets – including where they typically walk, bike, and drive – and just how they're driving.
The sensor on the utility pole near Clinton Park is just one of the units going up in Inner Southeast Portland on Division between S.E. 11th Avenue out to 122nd Avenue, remarked Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera, who served as the media event's Master of Ceremonies.
In Outer Southeast Portland, sensors will monitor and report traffic along S.E. 122nd between East Burnside and S.E. Duke Street, Rivera said.
"I could not be more excited about this, today!" began Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in his prepared remarks. "Everywhere you look, technology is rapidly changing the ways that we live, the way we work, and the ways that we get around our city."
"These new Safety Sensors allows us to harness the power of the technology and advanced data, so we can use it to make our transportation system safer for all users," commented PBOT Director Leah Treat. "When it comes to designing safe streets, knowledge is part of how we do that: First, we need to know how people use streets, whether they are walking, driving, taking transit, rolling, or whatever."
Then, as the celebration progressed, one by one technology industry partners stepped up to congratulate the city for taking on the "Smart City PDX Traffic Safety Sensor Project", and discussed it from their own point of view.
Looking for clarity, THE BEE asked Mayor Wheeler to break down the dense technospeak. "Is gobbledygook the word you're looking for?" he smiled. "In the past, we've often had to work without benefit of having all the data we like to have to make the best decisions. And, with limited financial resources, and we need to use the best resources to get the best 'bang for the buck'.
"We're starting with the traffic monitoring sensors supporting our 'Vision Zero' program so, by having precise traffic information, we'll be able to tailor solutions in 'High Crash Corridors' to invest dollars based on what data shows is actually happening in that area," explained Wheeler.
"The next step might be remotely-monitoring air quality issues. Eventually, we'll be able to determine, on a very local level, any remediation that is needed. We may, for example, deploy lower-carbon-emission busses in that area."