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Smart Streetlights Program

San Diego Deploys the World’s Largest Smart City Platform

Smart Sensor San Diego



With what began as a cost-savings effort to replace high energy use streetlights with more efficient LED lights, the City of San Diego is now deploying the world’s largest smart city sensor platform. The system is transforming the City's existing street lighting infrastructure into a connected digital infrastructure which will lead to energy savings and new technological opportunities.


street light

The anonymous data collected by the sensor nodes can be used to develop applications and systems that benefit the City and the community. These sensor nodes generate metadata (static data on parking, vehicle counts, pedestrian counts, temperature, humidity, pressure). The nodes connect to technology partner GE’s CityIQ cloud database to make the metadata collected by the sensors available. This open data platform possibilities range from pedestrian safety and directing drivers to open parking spaces to mobility planning and optimization, to helping first responders during an emergency and urban and real estate development planning. Our hope is that new applications will be built using this technology to help improve city services and initiatives.



Intelligent Sensors

Intelligent Light SensorApproximately 4,200 intelligent sensors are being installed to transform the City’s streetlights into smart infrastructure that will help optimize traffic and parking, plus enhance public safety, environmental awareness and overall livability for San Diego residents.

These intelligent sensors, or CityIQ nodes, can see, hear and feel the heartbeat of a city. The node connects city officials and citizens to real-time data, allowing for endless applications. From easier parking and decreased traffic congestion, enhanced public safety and environmental monitoring, enhanced bicycle route planning, to enhanced urban and real estate development planning, this platform can improve the quality of life in our city and boost economic growth

View an Online Map of installed and proposed CityIQ nodes.


Smart Streetlights Frequently Asked Questions


Presentation from the Community Forums

The City held several community forums to discuss what the streetlights can and can't do and how privacy will be protected. Here is a copy of the slides that were presented during those meetings:


How to Access the Metadata for Community Innovators and Other Interested Parties


Anyone who would like to access metadata (static data on parking, vehicle counts, pedestrian counts, temperature, humidity, pressure) from the City’s intelligent streetlight sensors may use the publicly available application programming interface (API) key. 


To begin using the APIs, please review the information posted on the CityIQ GitHub site. CityIQ recommends accessing the API using Postman, the relevant Postman files, FAQs, and other information can be found on the GitHub site.


Use the public credentials below to access the system:

  • Client Id: PublicAccess
  • Client Secret: qPKIadEsoHjyh226Snz7

Sign-in to the EULA page to see additional account information as well as view the End User License Agreement.  

Please note: 

  • The Client Secret will be changed and re-posted here every 3 months

If you are a developer or would like longer-term access, please contact the Sustainability Department for an individual API key: [email protected]

If you have technical questions please contact the CityIQ technical support team: [email protected]

To obtain CityIQ API documentation please visit https://docs.cityiq.io

To learn more about CityIQ visit http://developer.currentbyge.com/cityiq


A Note on Privacy

While this project is a tremendous technological benefit to the city and our citizens, we recognize and value the importance of privacy. Raw video and image data are not accessible to general city staff or any members of the public. These raw data are only retained by GE locally on the sensor (not in their cloud database) for 5 days then overwritten/deleted. The primary purpose of video and image information is to be used by a software program to generate metadata such as vehicle counts. Special and limited access to video/image data exist exclusively for the San Diego Police Department. Authorized personnel in SDPD may request access to specific video/images within the 5-day period at the discretion of the Chief of Police for criminal investigations only.

See below for the current privacy policy ensuring general City staff do not access or share video or image data. As this is a new frontier in the technology world and in the city operations world, we expect to evolve this policy as we receive input from users of the metadata and citizens.


What Metadata Looks Like to Users

The image below is how all publicly available metadata appear.


Further Information


Learn more about what makes San Diego such a SMART City!


San Diego Data Powered City

Intelligent Lighting in San Diego


Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer

"Fostering innovation and improving infrastructure are important to enhancing the lives of all San Diegans. This new technology will give the City and developers the opportunity to make our neighborhoods safer and smarter."

San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer



Energy Efficient Outdoor Lights

In addition to the intelligent sensor installation, approximately 25 percent of San Diego’s outdoor lights will be upgraded to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The City of San Diego has retrofitted approximately 38,000 light fixtures with energy efficient lighting of which, 3,500 are currently equipped with advance lighting control systems. In addition, the City is installing another 14,000 new Adaptive Control LED fixtures across the city in 2018, which is expected to save San Diego an estimated $2.8 million per year in energy costs that can be invested back into other uses such as maintaining our roads and parks. It also reduces night sky impact and uplighting by at least 90 percent.

Each fixture comes equipped with an advanced controls system called LightGrid which allows city managers to dim, brighten and check maintenance on the lights remotely to reduce energy waste and maintenance costs.

The projects are paid for using energy savings, rebates, federal grants, the State of California, and private, low interest financing. 

Street LampBenefits

By installing a network of energy-efficient LED lights equipped with sensor technology and advanced controls, the City will utilize more accurate data collection to develop services and policies to improve the quality of life for residents and businesses. The data collected by the intelligent outdoor network is aggregated to illustrate trends and provide insights with Machine to Machine learning and Internet of Things. No personally identifiable information is collected. The City and private developers can only use the data for purposes such as improving traffic, parking, pedestrian use, cyclist navigation and weather.

The program will lead to a safer and vibrant city because the City's new digital smart city infrastructure is a highly innovative approach that provides a multi-application, horizontal platform for solving challenges in public safety, emergencies, pedestrian safety, mobility, economic development and much more.

Cost Savings

The Intelligent Outdoor Lighting Project makes San Diego one of America’s most energy-efficient cities and saves $2.8 million in annual energy costs due to the more efficient lighting.

The City will avoid or minimize future costs of installing one-off point solutions i.e. in-ground parking sensors, pedestrian detection infrared, inductive loop surveillance at intersections, CCTV video cameras, and more.

In the long term, the compounding app economy, cost avoidance for single-purpose technology deployment, real-estate development planning models, and small businesses and retail store location optimization tools have the potential to bring increased revenue and jobs to the region.

Potential Future Applications:

Improved Parking

StreetThe City of San Diego's smart city digital infrastructure will make it easier for residents to find parking, higher utilization of parking spots, and streamlined parking management. Based on experiences with prior deployments of similar technology solutions, the City expects a 40 percent reduction in time spent looking for parking

Improved Traffic Flow

San Diego's smart sensors will provide valuable data to enhance traffic flow. Studies conducted by application providers indicate that there’s potential to improve traffic by 10-20 percent by optimizing city management of traffic and providing en-route guidance improvements. Less traffic also means lower greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of this is significant, and reduced traffic will improve air quality and associated health and productivity benefits.

Bike Lanes

Bicycle data will help planners ensure they are building bike lanes where needed to enhance mobility throughout the city. In addition, traffic has a significant correlation to real estate prices and improved traffic should lead to higher real estate values in a number of San Diego neighborhoods.

Bike RidingImproved Public Safety

In the long run, San Diego’s smart city sensors are expected to act as a deterrent to crime as the prevalence of optical and audio sensors has been shown to directly impact public safety. Video data from digital smart city infrastructure will make it easier to identify, and, therefore, arrest criminals. Similar technology has been applied in many other cities across the nation, with the median reduction in gunshots recorded as 20 percent across cities that saw reductions.

New App Creation

Real-time sensor data will be open to app developers with a goal of creating apps that solve specific challenges from City departments such as transportation, police, economic development, public works, and more, as well as to make lives better for San Diego residents, visitors and business owners. More than 40 such apps were created in 2017 without access to the valuable data that will be created by this program.

The Intelligent Outdoor Lighting Project is based on an open platform, meaning it collects and makes data available to private software developers who can innovate new solutions to residents and businesses challenges, not the City, which is more efficient and a better use of taxpayer dollars.

No personally identifiable information is collected so the City and private developers only have access to data such as traffic, parking, pedestrian use, cyclists and weather

Data Asset Value

While economic uses of this type of data are difficult to ascertain, some clear use cases that generate significant value are made possible by the data. For example, improved crime data will allow insurance companies to improve their risk modeling and accurate foot traffic data will improve retail real estate pricing and outdoor advertising optimization. It is expected that the value of these entirely new types of data sets will be large in volume and wide in scope.


PDF icon Ordinance Number O-20186

PDF icon Ordinance Number O-20235

PDF icon Article 2: General Development Regulations

PDF icon Part 7: Street Lighting and Traffic Signal Systems, Section 700 - Materials


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