The US town of Spencer is working with smart city technology provider Cimcon on the initiative to improve driver safety, meet state environmental guidelines and reduce costs.
The US town of Spencer in Massachusetts is planning to integrate road condition monitoring with its recent LED street light conversion project.
Town officials are working with smart city technology provider Cimcon to undertake the initiative to improve driver safety, meet state environmental guidelines, and reduce costs associated with ineffective road monitoring and maintenance.
Spencer, originally an agricultural and mill community, has an aging population for whom road safety is a priority, especially during the winter months. It has a population of approximately 12,000 people.
Using the funds remaining from a grant and incentives received from the Massachusetts Area Planning Council (MAPC) and National Grid, respectively, to convert their street lights, the town chose Cimcon’s NearSky smart city platform with the road condition monitoring application to improve public safety.
"We try hard to recognise and be responsive to the needs of the community," said Bill Krukowski, superintendent of Spencer’s highway department. "Our collaboration with Cimcon started with an LED lighting conversion. We had funds available in our project budget and grants from the state and decided to use them to improve the safety of our streets."
At the start of the project, the town identified four areas that experience the first occurrences of freezing during inclement weather. Two areas are along a causeway that runs beside the Stiles Reservoir and Cranberry Meadow Pond, and the other two are in the northern section of the town, where the elevation is higher and the temperature is typically five degrees lower than the town centre.
"We had funds available in our project budget and grants from the state and decided to use them to improve the safety of our streets."
The town will monitor two additional areas for comparison purposes. Real-time data from road temperature sensors will be relayed back to the town’s highway department via the NearSky platform so that preventive measures may be taken.
The data obtained from the StreetVibe software will allow the town to monitor the road temperature and treat surfaces before hazardous road conditions can occur. Not only will this make the roads safer, but Cimcon claims in a statement it will also allow the town to use less road salt, thereby helping it to achieve its high phosphorus reduction goals as part of its participation in the National Pollution Discharge Elimination Programme.
Highway superintendent Krukowski estimates that the platform will pay for itself within four years through savings on road salt and reduced equipment wear and tear. The system is expected to be fully deployed by May 2020.
"Communities like Spencer are an important part of our customer mix," added Anil Agrawal, CEO of Cimcon. "They often come to us with a singular focus, usually lighting, but quickly see the additional possibilities that our NearSky smart city platform can provide. We are very pleased to be working with the town of Spencer to help them in their efforts to improve public safety."
A report published this week by Northeast Group emphasises how smart lighting remains a fundamental building block of smart cities. It also highlights how such initiatives are becoming even more important to help build resilience and achieve cost-savings for municipalities and utilities in the wake of Covid-19 related economic challenges.
According to the third edition of the United States Smart Street Lighting & Smart Cities: Market Forecast (2020-2029), the largest 314 cities in the US (those with over 100,000 residents) are converting to LED streetlights and interest in connected or smart street lights has nearly tripled.
The Northeast Group also reports that the US is projected to invest $8.2bn in street light modernisation over the next decade.
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