November 15, 2019 / 8:58 PM / 24 days ago

Factbox: Technology for Alphabet's futuristic smart city dream in Toronto

TORONTO (Reuters) - Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Sidewalk Labs released a detailed overview on Friday of the futuristic technology it intends to incorporate in the smart city it wants to build in Toronto.

The company says 82% of its proposals have existing precedents around the world, either fully or partially implemented - although not necessarily at the scale Sidewalk envisions. Here are a few key technologies that already exist in some form and what Sidewalk would do with them in the Quayside project.

BIKE CROSSINGS

Known as “bicycle green waves,” these street crossings detect when a bike is present and coordinate traffic lights to allow a cyclist to travel without having to stop. This already exists in cities around the world, including Amsterdam and parts of Toronto itself.

ADAPTIVE TRAFFIC SIGNALS

A 25-year-old on a jog may take less time to cross the street than an 85-year-old using a cane - adaptive pedestrian signals can adjust to each of these. In Singapore, individuals can trigger a longer walk signal at certain intersections using a senior’s transit card.

ONLINE AFFORDABLE HOUSING APPLICATION

Sidewalk is proposing to streamline and simplify the application for the affordable housing that will make up 40% of the apartments in Quayside. New York City and San Francisco have both created online affordable housing applications, but Sidewalk says these don’t include income verification, which its would.

DATA-GATHERING DEVICE REGISTRY

Seattle maintains a master list of surveillance technology used by the city, but Sidewalk would take that a step farther and create a public map of sensors and data-collection devices in Quayside.

SMART GARBAGE

Many cities have garbage cans with volume sensors, but Sidewalk proposes self-driving cans that empty themselves into a centralized waste disposal site before returning to their original location. Sidewalk didn’t name a company that would provide this infrastructure, although it said it exists.

NOISE MONITORS

Sidewalk would install sound-level sensors into residential apartments - a practice it says occurs often in industrial buildings, but not in homes or offices.

INTEGRATED TRANSPORTATION

Helsinki, Birmingham and Antwerp all have Maas Global, which stands for Mobility as a Service - a company that provides one subscription to a variety of modes of transportation, including public transit, bikeshare and ridesharing. Sidewalk envisions a similar all-in-one system for transportation in Quayside.

Reporting by Moira Warburton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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