For those wondering what happened to the “intelligent” street lighting pilot project Jacksonville launched a couple of years back, wonder no longer.
Trade publication LEDs Magazine reports that Jacksonville “jilted” the pilot project from GE.
In April 2015, then-Mayor Alvin Brown, in campaign mode, exulted over the project which was supposed to put Jacksonville “at the forefront of innovation nationally.”
“Jacksonville is excited to be on the front lines with this pilot project, using new technology to increase efficiency and drive innovation, at no cost to taxpayers …. This technology has the potential to transform how our city solves problems by allowing us to use the power of data to drive outcomes that give us flexibility, efficiency and new, creative actions to enhance life in our city,” Brown said.
Brown lost his re-election a month later, and the project was passed on to the Lenny Curry administration, where the excitement apparently ebbed.
“Upon the pilot’s conclusion, the city did not move forward with the program,” a City of Jacksonville spokesperson told LEDs Magazine.
The city had “other priorities that took precedence,” the magazine continued.
(Note: For those who don’t speak Mayor’s Office, “other priorities” is one of those phrases like “the mayor has a schedule conflict” that semantically is intended to close inquiry. However, given the timing of the administration’s decision early last year, it likely was tied with the all-consuming push to get its pension reform scheme through Tallahassee.)
Ironically, the other location where the pilot launched — San Diego — has a mayor who is Republican, like Curry, but San Diego is pushing forward.
“The San Diego smart lighting trial ended in August, and last month Current announced that San Diego was now investing $30 million to deploy 3200 of GE’s CityIQ sensor nodes on street-light poles starting in July, with the possibility of another 3000 nodes later this year. San Diego is also upgrading 14,000 light fixtures — about a quarter of the city’s street lights — to Current’s Evolve LED luminaires,” LEDs reports.
In an interesting twist, San Diego’s system includes ShotSpotter technology.
The Curry administration started looking into ShotSpotter, a technology which allows aural identification of where gunshots come from, last year.
This year, the administration shepherded legislation through the city council to ensure local allocation for it, while having Duval County Legislative Delegation member Rep. Kim Daniels carry an ask for $325,000 of state funds.
Between that and the city’s participation in the NIBIN program (a federal clearinghouse for shell casings to identify firearms used in violent crime), it’s clear that Jacksonville is implementing technological solutions to the crime issue — at least two of which could be called “intelligent design.”
However, the GE project clearly wasn’t the way forward … for reasons the administration didn’t want to discuss with a national outlet.