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In the News:NextEnergy to pilot pedestrian, bicycle safety system in Grosse Pointe Park

DETROIT—NextEnergy, the state of Michigan’s advanced energy industry accelerator, has named Grosse Pointe Park as the pilot location for SmartCone Technologies innovative technology safety system.

SmartCone, an Ontario-based developer of a modular safety system, was the Demonstration Grant Award winner of NextEnergy’s NextChallenge: SmartCities.

SmartCone’s bicycle-pedestrian safety system makes intersections safer by installing posts equipped with both heat detection cameras and laser-based radar to detect pedestrians and bicyclists. The software triggers flashing lights at eye level to notify drivers when it’s safe to proceed through a busy intersection. The post is also capable of recording video, capturing the license plate numbers of dangerous drivers and providing pedestrian and cyclist counts.

NextEnergy and SmartCone have worked with Grosse Pointe Park’s director of public safety, Stephen Poloni, and City Manager Nick Sizeland to identify two intersections where the platform has been installed. The intersections, one at St. Paul and Somerset and the other at the north end of Nottingham at Kercheval, are adjacent to two schools and a popular commercial and entertainment district. Since the Grosse Pointe Public School System does not provide bus transportation, students either walk, bike, or are driven to school, causing this particular area to be especially busy during peak rush hour and school drop off/pick up times.

“Working with NextEnergy and forward-thinking cities like Grosse Pointe Park, to put their citizens first and collaborate on new solutions to create safer roads for all is exciting and rewarding,” said Tenille Houston, CEO of AutoGuardian by SmartCone. “Our system not only provides a municipality with data collection to better understand mobility within their city, but also expands to create intelligent warning systems that are designed to give motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians the time they need to act and be safe.”

Said NextEnergy president and CEO Jim Saber: “NextChallenge SmartCities’ main goals are to build relationships between industry and city leaders, deploy promising solutions in real-world settings, and identify and create additional value from the deployment learnings. Through the management of the competition and by leveraging our experience in developing and managing public, private partnerships, our goals for NextChallenge SmartCities are being met with SmartCone and the City of Grosse Pointe Park”.

As for the city, Sizeland explains, “Grosse Pointe Park residents and public safety have been working together to identify ways to improve the safety of our kids and families going to school. When NextEnergy approached us as a possible pilot location, and we learned more about the potential of the AutoGuardian solution, we felt that this was not only a step towards fulfilling that promise but a chance to demonstrate the smart city technologies of the future right here.”

Morea bout NextEenrgy’s NextChallenge competition at More about SmartCone at


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