CityStation — a comprehensive solution for monitoring and managing city traffic and air quality

CityStation — a comprehensive solution for monitoring and managing city traffic and air quality

20 Jun 2022

The expansion of cities continues unabated globally favored by rising trends of urbanization. Rapid urbanization presents a unique set of challenges for city leaders to address, such as increased traffic and deteriorating air quality. Both consequences have an adverse impact on the quality of life in cities. The proliferation of reliable connectivity, connected sensors, and enabling technologies have aided city administrators in monitoring and managing these challenges to some extent. A variety of sensors installed separately throughout cities collect data on weather, air quality, and traffic to monitor and record real-time changes in these parameters. One popular method of monitoring environmental conditions is to transform street lights into smart poles by incorporating electronics, software controls, and sensors that can receive and transmit data. A smart pole can include features such as a 5G base station, weather sensors, and CCTV cameras.

Leveraging street lights is a great option since they are distributed across the city, allowing for data collection from all areas of the city for more informed decision-making. However, the disadvantage of smart poles is that all of the sensors must be purchased and installed separately, making the process of integrating them into the street light and connecting them to the network time-consuming and inconvenient. Furthermore, if a problem with one or more sensors occurs, involved personnel must contact the manufacturers of each product to diagnose and resolve the issue.

SmartCow CityStation, an AIoT platform for data acquisition and control system, can help in avoiding the aforementioned problems. With 4G/5G capabilities, CityStation collects data from its sensors in real time to precisely measure atmospheric conditions. It also has a video analytics processor, which uses powerful AI models to analyze traffic data from live video streams fed in by network cameras. To process the collected data and analyze trends, CityStation communicates with an NVIDIA Jetson embedded system. It’s an all-in-one solution with built-in sensors and devices for quick and easy installation on street light poles. The rugged structure, combined with an active cooling enclosure, enables continuous outdoor use. The most significant advantage is that all service tickets for all issues can be raised through a single source — SmartCow.

The following image illustrates the differences between a street light pole with various sensors and a pole with a CityStation mounted. The same single pole setup can also be installed at an intersection.

Difference between a smart pole and a CityStation (Image: SmartCow)

CityStation helps policy makers in improving air quality and traffic congestion, as well as providing a better quality of life, more efficient driving, and a more sustainable city, all of which contribute to citizens’ health.

CityStation is equipped with the most commonly used sensors that modern weather stations on smart poles have. It has sensors for air temperature, carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), and relative humidity. CityStation also includes elevation and GPS sensors, allowing city planners to quickly identify data sources. An online dashboard displays real-time and historical data from sensors on multiple CityStation platforms located throughout the city, including ambient weather, air quality indexes, and AI model metrics.

The following image depicts a snapshot of the CityStation dashboard, including the parameters measured and the location data of a specific CityStation device installed in the city.

CityStation dashboard consolidates data from across the city for policymakers to use in developing additional analytics. (Image: SmartCow)

The traffic data insights provided by the video analytics processor help in improving mobility and traffic progression, reducing congestion and wasted fuel consumption, and improving air quality. CityStation can also identify and divert traffic at congested intersections, resulting in fewer traffic-related collisions and, as a result, safer roads for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

CityStation is a ready-to-use integrated plug-and-play solution for smart cities that comes equipped with weather sensors, powerful cameras, and edge computing capabilities for configuring AI solutions in a single easily installable container. CityStation’s unified dashboard also simplifies the management of multiple devices while displaying data using rich visualization techniques. The solution can be easily scaled to any number of locations. CityStation can measure atmospheric indicators and count vehicle types and numbers. Cities can leverage this data to model the effects of traffic versus air quality index on a localized level and develop optimal traffic load configurations for city intersections. These optimal solutions improve public health, traffic congestion, and citizen safety. Cities can also take advantage of these CityStation devices by configuring additional AI software capabilities such as ALPR/ANPR, object classification, video querying, and so on.

Aside from obvious deployment at city intersections, other CityStation use cases include climate-sensitive and need-to-be-monitored environments such as schools, enclosed large working spaces, chemical production plants, F&B companies, livestock corporations, and so on.

Source: Ella Miceli Farragia. Smart Cow