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GLENS FALLS — The city is considering selecting from three different companies that manufactures “smart” sensors, which could be used to measure air quality, traffic congestion and even provide Wi-Fi service.

The Sustainability Committee met recently to discuss using the services of Fybr, Telensa and Cimcon Lighting for installing sensors on streetlights.

The city is considering replacing over 1,350 street lights with LED bulbs to save on energy costs and reduce carbon emission as part of a project with New York Power Authority. These lights would be “smart,” which have the ability to dim when pedestrians are not around. These lights also can be equipped with sensors that can capture a variety of data.

Councilman Bill Collins said it is important for the city to collect as much information as possible so the city can analyze it. For example, the sensors can determine what streetlights are out and that information can be relayed to city officials so they can be fixed. Then, that information can be conveyed to the public.

Councilman Jim Campinell said he is not sure how useful air quality data would be since some of the major industries in town, including Finch Paper and Lehigh Cement, are monitored closely by the state.

Traffic data could help the city determine where there are problem intersections with a lot of accidents, according to Kevin Luteran, smart street lighting program manager for the New York Power Authority. Then, the city could put in brighter lights or further measures to improve safety.

Clark said having that real-time traffic information would be helpful. If there was some major event in the city and heavy traffic on the main roads and little traffic on the side streets, the city could override the traffic lights to make them stay on green.

Councilwoman Diana Palmer said having traffic information at the city’s fingertips would have been helpful when the council wanted more data about Broad Street traffic as it prepared to vote on a zoning change.

Sensors that measure pavement temperatures would also be a good idea to give crews a jump on de-icing roads, Clark added.

Clark said parking sensors would also be good. As the downtown continues to build out, Clark said he could envision a situation where it would be difficult to find a parking space.

Clark said other ideas are for Wi-Fi hot spots to be put on these sensors in order for people to get online. That could provide business and residential opportunities.

“I like the idea that it can potentially be a revenue generator for the city,” he said.

Another potential application involves sensors that could determine where there is a problem with drainage.

City Engineer Steve Gurzler cautioned that he does not want the city to get overloaded with data.

“It’s not worth bringing it in if you don’t have somebody to look at it,” he said.

The next step is to sit down with these companies and get some cost estimates and specifics.

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Michael Goot covers politics, business, the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.


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