Smart City & Innovation Hub

portland as a 'smart city'

The City of Portland is working to make our community an innovation hub, a place where data and technology are used to improve people's lives and make interactions with city government more efficient. Below you will learn more about a few of the projects we're working on. 


LED Streetlights

The City kicked off its first smart city project in January 2018 with the implementation of new LED street lights across the city. The project was made possible by the City's acquisition of its streetlights from Central Maine Power. Portland was the first city in Maine to do this under the provisions of a state law that was enacted in 2013. The City partnered with TEN Connected Solutions and Bernstein Shur to complete the ownership transfer and install the new LED fixtures. Buying the streetlights and converting them to LED provides the City with more than $1 million in savings annually. It also reduces electrical use for street lighting by 2.7 million kWh per year and contributes to safer streets by providing better quality light.

The Cree RSW lights selected provide the best lighting quality, offer the greatest energy savings of all the models submitted and follow the recommendations of the American Medical Association. They are also certified "Dark Sky Approved" by the International Dark Skies Association. In fact, the International Dark Sky Association featured the City of Portland's lighting project on their blog and describes how it reduces light pollution and protects the darkness.  You can read about it here.

In addition to the LED streetlight installation, the City conducted pilot projects of LED lighting on pedestrian scale light poles, installed LED lighting to illuminate the exterior of City Hall, installed new LED lighting for Deering Oaks fountain, converted the lighting in the Elm Street Garage and the Spring Street Garage to LED, and installed new lighting on West Commercial Street and at Angela’s Acre.

Next steps in the LED streetlight initiative include upgrading lighting at the Payson Park softball field, upgrading decorative lighting throughout the City, and converting lights on pedestrian scale poles.

Smart Traffic Signals

Following the installation of the new LED lights, the city was able to proceed with new smart traffic signals in Morrill's Corner that use artificial intelligence to predict and respond to road conditions in real time. Following a few months of use, data shows a 20% reduction in wait times at the Morrill's Corner intersection

The City plans to continue installing these signals along the Forest Avenue corridor, from Dartmouth Street to Walton Street, to improve traffic congestion, and is looking at additional high traffic corridors for implementation.

Public WiFi

To increase access to free WiFi, the City has implemented public WiFi in Monument Square and Tommy’s / Post Office Park and is exploring other areas that will have the highest impact for Portland residents.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

In alignment with the City's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the City is rolling out Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations to ease the use of EVs and encourage adoption.  Current city-owned EV charging stations can be found at the following properties:

This list will be added to as new charging stations are implemented.

There are also additional EV stations in Portland that are not city-owned. The website Plug-In America (not affiliated with the City of Portland) offers a handy tool to find available docking stations near you.


portland pilots inrix autonomous vehicle platform

In July 2018, the City announced it is a pilot member of INRIX AV Road Rules, a platform that lays the foundation for the city to communicate with operators for safe and effective deployment of Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV) on public roads. INRIX AV Road Rules is the first platform that enables cities and road authorities to assign, validate and manage traffic rules and restrictions for autonomous vehicles operating on public roads. The platform also leverages HAV data about roads to report infrastructure improvement needs, making the roads safer for all users. Portland is one of seven cities across the country to pilot the program. 

INRIX AV Road Rules will help Portland take an important and concrete step to support the safe operation of HAV shuttles on city roads. The City can easily assign traffic restrictions and have those rules provided directly to vehicles, and will explore how the City shares information with vehicles and vice versa. It will provide the base for operators interested in piloting AVs on public streets by offering an important dataset that demonstrates Portland’s understanding of real-world deployment challenges.

Portland will work with INRIX to map the city as part of the first phase. Choosing a vendor for a HAV shuttle service will be a separate phase and will be based on several factors including past experience and costs. It is the City's hope that the use of an HAV shuttle will help mitigate traffic congestion on key corridors like Commercial Street and Franklin Street. 

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