Creating intelligent city streets in Philadelphia Navy Yard with Amazon Web Services Partner Rekor Systems

by Charlie Degliomini and Jeff Friedman | on

In 2022, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) initiated a pilot project to analyze traffic patterns and provide analytics within the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The PIDC is Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation and master developer of the historic shipyard, which is now a thriving, mixed-use campus.

The PIDC had many objectives to consider when researching technology for this project. One of their key goals was to gain greater visibility into the impact that road closures and construction have on mobility and learn how to improve mobility during significant projects and events. Additionally, they were looking to strengthen the Navy Yard’s ability to understand the volume and traffic flow of car carriers or other large vehicles and quantify the impact of speed-mitigating devices deployed across hazardous stretches of roadway. Lastly, the PIDC wanted to address public safety issues related to speeding and collisions, and decrease damage to their property.

After much research, PIDC employed Rekor Systems, Inc. (Rekor) to bring this pilot project to fruition. Rekor is a global artificial intelligence (AI) technology company and an Amazon Web Services (Amazon Web Services) Public Sector Partner with a mission to provide insights that build safer, smarter, and more efficient cities worldwide through intelligent infrastructure.

Creating intelligent city streets with cloud technology

Figure 1. These images provide an overview of Philly Navy Yard, where traffic data collection systems were deployed to gather insights. The blue-bordered circles show the number of systems deployed in that particular part of the roadway.

Across the entirety of the Navy Yard, Rekor smart devices leverage AI, machine learning (ML), and edge-enhanced processing to collect de-identified roadway data and analyze it. The data is transformed into critical traffic insights viewable within Rekor’s cloud-based platform in real-time. Available analytics include visitors, volume, types of vehicles, and the impact of those visitors and vehicles. Moreover, the systems provide environmental insights such as electric vehicle (EV) volume and greenhouse gas emissions.

Above and beyond powerful traffic insights, Rekor’s same smart devices provide a shield of safety within the Navy Yard, as they allow the PIDC to capture vehicles of interest that cause damage, many times to property and infrastructure, which can impact the safety of the greater public.

With these solutions, the Navy Yard can support the community while utilizing ground truth data across planning objectives and support budgeting. Some key examples of this include electric vehicle charge station placement, allocation of funds, and deployment of safety systems.

Enhancing visibility for the Navy Yard and the greater community

 Since implementing Rekor’s technology in January 2022, the Navy Yard has gained illuminating insights into what’s happening on their roadways. In turn, these insights have directly benefited the Navy Yard in their planning and daily operations. From using Rekor’s technology, the PIDC has a better understanding of the make-up of traffic and the impact that traffic has on mobility and safety. Additionally, the PIDC has been able to recoup costs from damage to its property.

As of February 2023, 25 smart devices have been installed and are collecting data, processing at the edge, and feeding results and insights to the Amazon Web Services Cloud. Rekor leverages a range of Amazon Web Services services to support its mission with Navy Yard, including Amazon DynamoDB , Amazon Web Services Lambda , Amazon API Gateway , Amazon Elastic Container Service ( Amazon ECS ), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud ( Amazon EC2 ), Amazon Relational Database Service ( Amazon RDS ), Amazon Aurora , and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams , just to name a few. Rekor chose these Amazon Web Services services due to their reliability, configurability, and their ability to help Rekor scale its internet of things (IoT), edge data solutions.

Over a six month period from July to December 2022, PIDC reported data such as average daily traffic vehicle counts, a comparison of cars and trucks, electric vehicles, and a total estimation of greenhouse gases on the road: 347,292 kg/mile. By understanding the flow and patterns of vehicles, PIDC can better prepare for events and seasonality by deploying more resources across the Navy Yard. It also helps PIDC understand the wear and tear of the roadways, as trucks can often create more wear and tear than passenger vehicles. It provides PIDC with insights into additional infrastructure projects that need to be deployed to manage any changes in traffic as well. Understanding the number of electric vehicles, and where they are entering and leaving the Navy Yard, provides PIDC with clear insights on potential sites for EV charge station deployment in the future. And finally, PIDC can leverage the speed insights to deploy traffic calming measures where average speeds are exceeding what is ideal on certain segments of roadway.

“Rekor has been a valued partner in the pilot program at the Navy Yard. Their systems have allowed us to monitor and analyze traffic patterns in and out of the campus, which has been especially helpful after the pandemic and now that more people are returning to the office. This data will help us optimize aspects of our daily operations to improve the employee experience at the Navy Yard,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s senior vice president at Navy Yard.

The PIDC is also working with citizens, stakeholders, and planning experts to shape the future of the Navy Yard as part of its  Connected Community  initiative. This effort has a mission to support new development while making the area more connected and resilient.

Learn more

Read more about Amazon Web Services Public Sector Partner Rekor and learn more about the Amazon Web Services Cloud for transportation .

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