New technology that converts mechanical push to a wireless signal was adapted to replace traditional method which requires digging up the road or island for an underground conduit and wiring.
The City of Kelowna has been very invested in supporting a vibrant cycling culture in the city. Kelowna has an extensive bicycle network (the largest one in Canada for a city its size), a very effective cycling to work program, and a pilot project to monitor pedestrian and bicycle activity around the downtown core. The latest addition to Kelowna’s list of initiatives that support active transportation in the city is a creative technological solution to detecting cyclists at road intersections.
Staff at the City of Kelowna discovered a cost-effective way to increase cyclist safety through an innovative use of existing technology, originally intended for a very different application. After much internal discussion, the city decided to launch a pilot project to test the use of piezoelectric push button capable of converting mechanical push of the button into electrical energy and transmitting the signal wirelessly without requiring any direct electrical power or batteries. This new technology can be deployed without the need for digging up the road or island for underground conduit and wiring, significantly reducing installation costs associated with the traditional approach.
The City started with a pilot project at KLO Road and Gordon Drive, and has since expanded to install 22 push buttons at 12 different locations selected based on greater cyclist activity, installation suitability, and available options for observation.
The piezoelectric push button could be used for any application (i.e. pedestrian or cycling). However the city has used this technology strictly for cyclist detection.
This project supports the city’s effort to achieve one of the ten main goals outlined in the Kelowna’s OCP to “Feature a Balanced Transportation Network - Increase the attractiveness, convenience and safety of all modes of transportation by implementing “complete streets” that are designed to serve broader range of transportation modes, focusing on pedestrians, cyclists and transit service, and function in the context of surrounding land uses.”
The City has also recently adopted a Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan.