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A New Kind of Traffic Count

Ariel Schwartz introduces an innovation in site specific traffic counting: sensors that collect information about vehicle and pedestrian movement in real time.
April 13, 2012, 5am PDT | jerinbrent
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Forget standing on the side of the road in the blazing July sun tallying pedestrians (my Summer of 2010), Motionloft's 5 square inches of magic can collect all the data you need. Easily affixed to any window with a clear view of the street, the sensors only consume 11 watts of power and are able to transmit both vehicle and pedestrian data in real time. With 16 sensors throughout San Francisco, and more on the way, Motionloft's primary market right now is real estate. Business owners looking to open shop in a neighborhood can use Motionloft data to make decisions about location and hours of operation. Should a restaurant focus on breakfast, lunch or dinner service? Knowing when people are walking past the site can help inform these decisions.

The possibilities for the startup are seemingly endless. Information collected by Motionlift could be useful to city planners, landlords, people relocating to a new city, to name a few. The company is already expanding to New York City and continues to improve the product. In the future, the sensors will be able to record information about bicycle movement, vehicle models, and pedestrian speed, and weather. If all this motion-sensing sounds more like spying, CEO John Mills assures us that all their data comes through anonymously: "We've built a solution that doesn't transmit any video, it doesn't transmit any pictures back to us. We don't want to be scary. We want to help people. Anybody can look at this data."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

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Published on Thursday, April 12, 2012 in Fast Co.Exist
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