Over the next year, the city of San Antonio will deploy sensors that monitor both foot traffic and vehicle traffic.
In late January, Mayor Ivy Taylor announced that her city was selected for the Envision America smart city initiative, which helps cities develop major Internet of Things projects. Jose De La Cruz, San Antonio’s chief innovation officer, said he and his team plan to deploy sensors to monitor two kinds of traffic. De La Cruz said the city has two major roadways, and his team will place 29 sensors throughout these corridors to monitor traffic conditions, such as congestion or accidents.
“It’ll give our traffic center better opportunities to be proactive than reactive,” said De La Cruz in an interview with 21st Century State & Local.
Traffic created by humans, in addition to vehicles, is another area of focus. De La Cruz stated the city plans to furnish five intersections with pedestrian sensors that will hold the traffic light if a person is present. Pedestrian fatalities are a big issue in San Antonio; De La Cruz said that more than 60 such fatalities occurred in the city just last year.
De La Cruz said his team will also deploy high-water sensors, which will inform people about floods. Ultimately, the city’s Office of Innovation will feed the data collected from all the sensors into an existing app, such as Google Maps, or an app specific to San Antonio.
“Our end goal is to have it provide information to citizens,” De La Cruz said. “We want you to know before you get to a low-water crossing that it’s not safe.”
The Envision America awardees attend a workshop, where they will be able to consult with industry and academic partners on their projects. Industry partners include Itron, Microsoft, and SAS. This year’s workshop will take place March 6-8 in Charlotte, N.C.
Jackson, Miss., Wichita, Kan., Providence, R.I., Burlington, Vt., Detroit, Chula Vista, Calif., Greensboro, N.C., Kansas City, Mo., and Long Beach, Calif., are the other Envision America winners. All 10 cities are going to the event in March.
Although Envision America’s workshop is only three days long, the organization’s relationship with cities extends further, De La Cruz said. He said last year’s winning cities still communicate with Envision America on their projects, successes, and challenges.
“There’s an ongoing relationship with Envision America over the next year,” De La Cruz said. “We’ve got a really neat project. We can learn from it here.”