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Smart Streetlights Program

Smart Sensor San Diego



The Smart Streetlights project began as a cost-savings effort for the City to replace high energy use streetlights with more efficient LED lights. It evolved into deployment of one of the largest smart city sensor platforms. The platform provides a connected digital infrastructure, providing new opportunities for the City to better serve residents and businesses through data-driven processes, tools, and capabilities.


street light

The anonymous data collected by the sensors can be used to develop applications and systems that benefit the City and the community. These sensors generate event data (static data on parking, vehicle counts, bicycle counts, pedestrian counts, temperature, humidity, pressure).


The sensors upload event data to the CityIQ cloud database provided by the City’s technology partner. Application developers and the public can download the data from the cloud using programming tools. By making the data available, developers can create new applications to help improve city services such as transportation planning and emergency response, and support initiatives such as pedestrian safety. 

Intelligent Sensors

Intelligent Light SensorThe sensors can connect City officials and citizens to near-real time data of vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic across San Diego. These sensors also collect environmental data at a spatial granularity not normally available. This data, being openly accessible, allows for endless applications. From improved curbside management, 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.

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 Streetlight Data for Community Innovators and Other Interested Parties


NOTE: As of June 30, 2020, API access to the CityIQ event data is temporarily suspended while the City works through the administrative process to continue the service.


Anyone who would like to access event data (aggregated information about parking, vehicle counts, pedestrian counts, bicycle counts, temperature, humidity, and pressure) from the City’s intelligent streetlight sensors may use the publicly available application programming interface (API) key. 


Data retrieved using the APIs are in JSON format. The structure and fields returned from each API are illustrated in this PDF icon API-Maps-SD document.


An overview of the APIs along with starter code for API access is available on the CityIQ GitHub site. CityIQ recommends exploring the APIs using Postman, and the relevant Postman files, FAQs, and other information can be found on the GitHub site. Complete API documentation is at https://docs.cityiq.io.


The City, in collaboration with local volunteer group Open San Diego, has provided provided Node.js and Python scripts for data exploration and  download, and a step-by-step Postman guide. These are available on the Open San Diego 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 (Jan 15, Apr 15, Jul 15, Oct 15)

If you are a developer or would like longer-term access, please contact the Sustainability Department for an individual API key: Sustainability@sandiego.gov

If you have technical questions please contact the CityIQ technical support team: CityIQ.SysOps.Team@ubicquia.com

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 our technology partner 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 anonymized aggregated data 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 for smart cities technology and city operations, we expect to evolve this policy as we receive input from citizens and other users of the data.

Further Information

Energy Efficient Outdoor Lights

In addition to the intelligent sensor installation, approximately 25 percent of San Diego’s outdoor lights are being 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 These retrofits also reduce night sky impact and uplighting by at least 90 percent per light.

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

Street Lamp

Potential Future Applications:

Improved Parking

StreetThe City of San Diego's smart city sensor platform could make it easier for residents to find parking. Based on other deployments of similar technology solutions, a 40 percent reduction in time spent looking for parking could be expected. 

Improved Traffic Flow

San Diego's smart sensors could provide valuable data to enhance traffic flow. Studies conducted by application providers indicate that there’s potential to improve traffic by 10-20 percent. Less traffic would also mean lower greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality.

Bike Lanes

Bicycle data could help planners ensure they are building bike lanes where needed to enhance mobility throughout the city. 

Bike RidingImproved Public Safety

San Diego’s smart city sensors could act as a deterrent to crime as the use of sensors has been shown to directly impact public safety. Smart sensor data could provide additional clues to help law enforcement correctly identify criminals. 

New App Creation

As Real-time sensor data is made available to independent app developers, new apps could be created that solve specific challenges from City departments, residents, visitors and business owners.

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.


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