San Diego Installs Smart Streetlights to Monitor the Metropolis

The network’s first job will be pointing out vacant parking spots to drivers and, potentially, alerting traffic enforcement officers to illegally parked cars. Later in the year, city officials expect, the sensor data will be used in other ways, some by the city and some by software developers creating new services for residents and visitors.
For starters, the city “expects to learn what intersections are the most dangerous and need to be redesigned, based on information on near misses, not just the accident data. It’s a whole new way to improve pedestrian safety,” said David Graham, San Diego’s deputy chief operating officer.
Also, he says, the streetlights could easily be hooked into the city’s existing ShotSpotter network, which automatically locates the source of gunfire, increasing ShotSpotter coverage from just 10 square kilometers (about 4 square miles) to a much broader area. The sensing lights could detect other sounds, too, and automatically alert police to dangerous situations, by recognizing the sound of broken glass or a car crash, for instance. And they’ll be able to monitor intersections and note when traffic backs up—information that might one day be used to adjust traffic signals.