Toronto

Heated pavement, smart intersections: Sidewalk Labs unveils plans for waterfront

The document from the Google sister company outlines several "innovations" — ranging from weather-responsive heated pavement to pedestrian detectors at crosswalks — and what data they will collect.

No personal information will be used for advertising, Sidewalk Labs says

Sidewalk Labs is outlining several 'innovations,' ranging from weather-responsive heated pavement to pedestrian detectors at crosswalks. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

Sidewalk Labs has released a 482-page document detailing its plans for a development on Toronto's waterfront.

The so-called Digital Innovation Appendix works in part to alleviate some of the privacy concerns that have swirled around the project since it was first proposed in October 2017.

The document from the Google sister company outlines several "innovations" — ranging from weather-responsive heated pavement to pedestrian detectors at crosswalks — and what data they will collect.

"The focus of the project since the beginning has been on how technology can play a role in improving quality of life," said Jesse Shapins, director of urban design and digital innovation for Sidewalk Labs.

It also reiterates the company's commitment that Waterfront Toronto, an agency composed of representatives from three levels of government, will take the lead on data governance.

The decision to relinquish control of the data was an about-face for Sidewalk, which had previously proposed the establishment of a new agency to manage data from the project.

Waterfront Toronto approved that change last month, along with a reduced scope for the project.

Sidewalk says none of its proposed systems would use facial recognition, and also that no personal information would be used for advertising.

"For us, those are really important commitments," Shapins said.

With files from CBC News

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