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Investing in the 'Smart Cities' Approach to Bike Planning

Smart cities tech isn't just for cars. Portland is out to prove that sensors and data can benefit all modes of travel.
April 27, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Portland recently made a pair of investments aimed at improving bike awareness and safety around the city.

"PBOT purchased data from Portland startup Ride Report, and plans to install smart safety sensors on three of the city’s most dangerous streets," reports Caleb Diehl.

Diehl describes the moves as a "smart cities" approach to bike planning in a city already famous for bike friendliness and mobility services tech companies (like the Portland-based moovel).

In the old days, when PBOT wanted to see how many people were biking at a specific location, planners collected surveys and sent out legions of employees and volunteers to manually count them. That process could take up to six months.

The smart sensors automate at least part of the process. Unlike humans, they can count several things at once — such as when and where people cross the street, and how fast they’re going. The sensors’ cameras can even pick out different shapes and sort them into cars, bikes and people, kind of like how Facebook recognizes your friends in photos.

Portland will be following the lead of San Diego and Atlanta to install the traffic sensors. Ride Report has made it into 13 cities, according to Diehl.

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Published on Thursday, April 19, 2018 in Bike Portland
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