Portland plans to use sensors to monitor traffic and pedestrians on busy streets

Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard - KATU photo

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland will start using sensors to track walkers, cyclists and drivers on some busy streets. They hope to use the data to make those streets safer.

It’s part of the Smart City PDX Traffic Safety Sensor Project.

The city will install sensors at the top of light poles. Each sensor will then be able to take a picture of the street.

The software can then identify the number and speed of people walking around, cyclists and cars that cross each camera’s field of view. Then sensors then send that data back to be analyzed.

The city says using this data, engineers can design safer streets.

One big concern is privacy.

The city says none of the pictures taken are saved. They are immediately recorded over once the data is sent away.

Plus, the city says the data only contains information officials are looking for like the speed and number of cars and pedestrians.

The sensors are also capable of collecting audio, but the city says it’s opting out of that for this project.

For the pilot program, the city is installing 200 cameras on light poles. They’re going in some of the most dangerous areas such as at Southeast 122nd Avenue and Division Street and on Hawthorne Boulevard.

But before the cameras go up, they city wants to hear your opinion.

The project team is hosting an open house Wednesday night from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Portland Community College Southeast.

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