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Ornl, City of Oak Ridge Partner on Sensor Project to Capture Trends in Cities


Insights urban infrastructure helps cities like Oak Ridge, TN (shown), assess needs and plan for future development.

UrbanSense passively collects anonymous, open-source data from cellular towers to generate real-time estimates of population density in cities.

Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Urban Dynamics Institute (UDI) are partnering with Oak Ridge, TN, to develop UrbanSense, a sensor network and real-time visualization platform that helps cities evaluate urban activity trends.

"Our goal in bringing science to cities is to put the right tools and resources in the hands of city managers and urban planners so they can assess local impacts and make strategic decisions to get the best return on future investments," says UDI director Budhendra Bhaduri.

The prototype cloud-based system uses seven sensors installed throughout the city to monitor population density, traffic flow, and environmental data such as air and water quality.

UrbanSense also collects anonymous open source data from virtual and physical sensors to generate population dynamics.

"The real-time data collected will not only increase our understanding of the city's usage by residents and visitors, but will also aid in the selection and prioritization of city-funded projects," says ORNL's Bruce Applegate.

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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