StreetLight Data Partners with Current, powered by GE, to Expand Data Analytics Offering for Smart Cities
At StreetLight Data, we transform location data from connected vehicles and mobile devices into Metrics that describe travel patterns through our easy-to-use StreetLight InSight® platform. The name StreetLight Data is a metaphor for the light that our analytics shine on mobility behavior. In other words, we don’t do streetlights – or rather, we haven’t before.
That’s changing fast because of our new partnership with Current, powered by GE. Thanks to our partnership, we can now integrate traffic and parking data from Current’s CityIQ™ nodes for streetlights – an innovative sensor hub with powerful compute capabilities – directly into our StreetLight InSight platform.
To be totally clear, StreetLight Data still does not manufacture or install streetlights, sensors, or any other type of infrastructure. We’re leaving that to the experts at GE and Current. Instead, our companies are working together to help cities maximize the benefits of connected infrastructure by combining traffic data from these intelligent nodes with Massive Mobile Data. Learn how it works in the following Q&A with Ryan Schmidt, Head of Partnerships and Strategic Alliances for Smart Cities at Current, powered by GE.
Q&A: Laura Schewel and Ryan Schmidt Discuss The Partnership
Laura: What’s special about Current’s CityIQ sensors?
Ryan: Our CityIQ nodes capture the pulse of a city. What do I mean by this? These are multi-sensor hubs that help cities to better understand what is going on throughout urban environments. Thanks to a broad array of sensors and strong edge compute capabilities, these nodes detect events of interest and communicate this metadata back to the cloud. The initial set of events detected by our intelligent nodes include: Car counts/speeds, pedestrian counts, and where cars are parked. Over time, we will continue to build out this detection capability.
We’re working with solutions providers across a variety of industries to enhance their existing products and create new solutions that leverage data from our sensors. As one of our partners, StreetLight Data can leverage this data to enhance the value of its solutions because CityIQ nodes capture traffic flow throughout cities like never before.
The above renderings show how CityIQ nodes are integrated into urban streetlights.
Laura: What type of data do CityIQ sensors create?
Ryan: They provide accurate count and speeds of vehicles by lane at locations throughout urban environments. These same multi-sensor nodes also provide pedestrian counts to help cities understand urban sidewalk utilization. Overall, they provide valuable data to a variety of use cases, from transportation to public safety to environmental monitoring, thus enabling them to be deployed more ubiquitously throughout urban environments than dedicated traffic sensors. In urban cores, we see cities deploying multiple sensors per block, which means that traffic count and speed as well as pedestrian data are now available multiple times per block in urban cores. This is transformative for cities and transportation planners since it enables them to truly understand vehicle flow, rather than depending on estimates from household/intercept surveys or Bluetooth and GPS-based technology, all of which only capture a subset of all trips.
Laura: Why did Current, powered by GE, decide to partner with StreetLight Data?
Ryan: GE is not in the business of providing customer-facing transportation solutions. That’s where our partnership with StreetLight Data comes in. StreetLight Data can integrate metadata from our nodes into its StreetLight InSight platform. While the count data that our sensors provide are incredibly valuable for cities and communities, they do not answer all of the questions that planners and traffic engineers have about travel patterns. Importantly, our sensors do not show where travelers begin or end their trips, and each sensor can only measure the trips in its immediate vicinity. That’s where Massive Mobile Data can add value.
Although we envision that cities will be blanketed with these sensors, there will always be residential streets without sensors, and that is where many trips begin from or end at. By partnering with StreetLight Data, we can help cities use Massive Mobile Data to answer more of their travel behavior questions and get more value from both StreetLight InSight Metrics and CityIQ sensors.
Laura: What are a few of the ways that you think cities might benefit from our partnership?
Ryan: We think there are a ton of different ways for cities to benefit from our partnership. Just to get started, here are the three of the top use cases that we have identified so far:
1. Virtually Expand Sensor Networks
Most cities today face limited budgets, so installing CityIQ nodes on every streetlight pole on residential streets is not realistic from a cost perspective. However, as soon as initial deployments of CityIQ nodes are completed, cities can compare StreetLight InSight Metrics for trip volumes at specific sensor locations to those sensors’ trip counts. They can then use that ratio to estimate trip counts for streets without sensors, creating “virtual” sensors. (A Note from Laura: For more on this concept, check out StreetLight InSight’s Calibration Feature tutorial).
2. Analyze Traffic Jams
CityIQ sensors do a great job of showing where traffic jams are in real-time. However, a simple count of vehicles or speed measurement does not tell cities why the traffic jam happened, where the trips in a jam begin or end, who’s in the jam, etc. – and that information is critical for congestion mitigation. With StreetLight InSight Metrics mixed in, city planners can analyze the complete trips of vehicles that are stuck in jams, and use those insights to develop more effective tactics for reducing travel demand and mitigating congestion.
3. Create Detailed Emissions Estimates
Mobile sources of emissions can be difficult for cities to measure today. From zeroing in on their own region to isolating the emissions contributions of different types of drivers, it is difficult to get data that is granular enough to inform local projects and policies. By combining CityIQ vehicle counts with StreetLight InSight Metrics, cities can accurately evaluate the volume of emissions created by the vehicles that drive in their community, and how that volume changes over time and space. They can also determine the share of emissions created by their own residents versus the share that are imported from somewhere else.
Our companies are excited about the possibilities of our partnership, and we look forward to working with cities as a team. If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can gain insights into vehicular and pedestrian movement throughout urban environments by leveraging Big Data and data from smart city solutions, please contact us.