San Diego’s Smart Streetlights Yield a Firehose of Data

  • January 16, 2019
    San Diego smart streetlight
    Photo: GE


    San Diego’s network of smart streetlights, which has been rolling out since early 2018, continues to grow. To date, some 2,000 of the sensor-laden devices have begun gathering pictures, sounds, and other data.

    So far, the city has focused on the image data, using it to count pedestrians and cars as they move around the city. This data is only just starting to feed into the way the city designs and manages traffic flows, and any consumer applications remain far in the future, says Erik Caldwell, the city of San Diego’s interim deputy chief operating officer for smart and sustainable communities. Officials are still talking through all other possible applications, such as using the streetlights to locate gunshots, track airport noise, or monitor air quality.

    But the city is already fond enough of the sensor-laden lamps that it has placed an order with manufacturer Current by GE for an additional 1,000. Meanwhile, the initial 3,200 streetlights will finish being installed in the next month or two.


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