The smart streetlight program initially began as a cost-saving effort by the City of San Diego to replace high-energy streetlights with more efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lights through its Sustainability Department. Installation of the lights also included sensors that capture metadata on pedestrian and vehicle movement, parked cars and other mobility information. The City is now building an application that will use this metadata to help improve city planning.
“These smart streetlights we’re installing give us real-time information about what’s happening on San Diego streets,” said Deputy Chief Operating Officer Erik Caldwell. “That information, in turn, will allow us to learn how people are moving around the city so we can provide updated services to our residents and businesses.”
With the streetlights that have already been installed, the City is starting to see energy savings of up to $70,000 a month. The City has also identified a new use for the sensors – public safety. The cameras used to generate metadata store video on the device for five days. The San Diego Police Department has been able to use this metadata to help solve serious crimes committed within the camera’s field of view.
In order to ensure residents understand this new technology deployment, the City will be holding a series of community meetings to explain what the sensors can and cannot do.
“With any new technology, you develop new uses and opportunities that you didn’t originally contemplate. We want to be sure the public has a chance to weigh in on this technology as part of that process,” said Cody Hooven, director of the City’s Sustainability Department.
The community meetings will be held at the following times, dates and locations:
• Monday, June 3, 7-8:30 p.m., Montgomery-Waller Recreation Center, 3020 Coronado Ave.
• Tuesday, June 11, 5-7 p.m., North University Community Library, 8820 Judicial Drive.
Additional meetings will be scheduled and listed on sandiego.gov/sustainability.
When the program is fully operational, 8,700 streetlights will have been upgraded to energy efficient models and 4,200 sensors will have been installed around the city, concentrated in downtown San Diego. The program has a $30 million budget for the installation of all streetlights and sensor nodes, offset by $2.2 million in annual energy savings at full installation. The program was approved by the City Council in December 2016.