Streetlight sensors to monitor pedestrian safety arrive in Arlington

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Smart technology streetlight sensors have been installed in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, as part of a pilot program to improve public safety in the area.

The sensors can’t identify personal information about someone. Instead, optical, audio and environmental sensors collect information about the radius of location between pedestrians.

The sensors were installed in June, with the purpose of seeing how sensor technology can impact public safety response.

“We have taken a location in Arlington County, in Clarendon, it’s a one block area, there are 10 sensors light fixtures that have been installed…The hope is to gather data and gather information that is helpful for us and our public safety team at understanding how they can respond differently,” said Holly Hartell, Assistant CIO, Strategic Initiatives for the county.

Hartell says the program is currently in the “learning phase” for the next three months of how to effectively collect the data. The pilot program will last for one year.

“Towards the end of the twelve month period, we will be working on an assessment recommendation. We will be able to identify useful pieces of information,” said Hartell.

The data will help implement changes, such as improved pedestrian safety and flow, and better safety response times through detection of environmental events.

“I think the opportunity for us to tread very carefully into this space, to make sure we’re looking at the privacy aspect…to make sure we’re looking at the value that we’re getting very carefully and thoughtfully, helps the county to have a real life example of, ‘Is this useful to us?'” said Hartell.

The goal is to have the findings from the sensors posted to an open data portal by the fall.

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