St. Petersburg’s Innovation District – a “smart city” test bed that includes USF St. Petersburg, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, and the Florida Institute of Oceanography – recently showcased four pilot projects. The projects, as described by Alison Barlow, the Innovation District’s Executive Director, will “help shape solutions that can benefit our community and someday solve problems around the world.”
One of the pilot projects is a smart intersection study which uses Spectrum-powered, high-definition cameras and sensors placed at a busy intersection. The sensors will collect, analyze, and visualize large amounts of data about automobile, pedestrian and bicycle traffic; time of day; direction of travel; number of accidents and near-accidents; weather conditions; and, specific vehicle types and their rate of travel. Then, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be used to generate data that can be used to fine-tune crosswalk signal timing, signage, and traffic patterns – with the ultimate goal of eliminating collisions.
“St. Petersburg has been working on bicycle and pedestrian safety for many, many years,” the City of St. Petersburg Transportation Manager, Cheryl Stacks, said. “We’re historically one of the worst in the nation with a record of having a lot of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. So it’s very important for us to have an understanding of what bicyclists and pedestrians are doing and how they’re moving through our community, in order to help make sure that we can create a safe environment for them.”
The pilot projects are made possible by funding from Spectrum and U.S. Ignite. In 2019, U.S. Ignite named St. Pete one of its Smart Gigabit Communities which is made up of cities which are addressing challenges through innovation, advanced networking technologies, and data-driven strategies.