Street Activity Sensors

Currently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts volume counts of different roadway users (e.g. cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists) to better understand travel trends, demand, and the safety of City facilities. Additional data on intersection turning movements, speeds, double parking, loading zone use, and other behaviors are also collected to better understand how streets are being used and evaluate the effect of any changes made to them.

This data is typically collected through time- and person-intensive methods of manually coding data or overseeing partially automated analyses. Where automated non-motorized user counts can be collected are often limited to permanent installations and specific facilities like off-street paths. All of these data collection methods are either expensive or limited to one day or both.  

Opportunity: In 2020, the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), now a part of the Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI), in coordination with DOT, applied for a Smart City Innovation Partnership grant from the NYS Empire State Development corporation. The project received a grant which amounts to a matched total of around $100,000 for the pilot. These funds are being used to execute on the project proposal where 12 computer-vision sensors have been installed across four boroughs for the duration of the 8 month pilot.

The technology collects street activity data to generate detailed reports that will allow planners to better understand the uses of city streets and inform future street redesigns. The device views the street via a camera, then classifies and counts roadway users in real-time. Video frames from the sensors are deleted nearly instantaneously, and only anonymous features are stored.

On-board software detecting transportation modes such as pedestrians, bicycles, cars, and buses.
Activity Counter Device at Flushing Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn.

Project Timeframe

July 2023 – April 2024

Department of Transportation (DOT)
Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI)
Project Category