PINELLAS COUNTY – It is 47 miles long, has been a Pinellas County asset since it opened in 1990, and is now going to be monitored to get an accurate count of users.
The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is being outfitted with a series of infrared monitors to tally the number of runners, bikers and walkers who use this linear park.
Five monitors were purchased through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with a Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant. These sensors are capable of detecting the infrared emission from individuals who pass by the monitors, differentiating between the directions of travel and whether they are on foot or on a bicycle. They do not take photographs, and no personally identifying information can be obtained from them.
The data will be used to measure the trail usage to assist with staffing and maintenance assignments, identifying areas for trail expansion, and building a case for additional grant and transportation funding.
All units are battery operated and automatically transmit data, eliminating the need for staff to go to the monitoring locations. Three of the sensors are permanently mounted in busy unincorporated north, central and south locations on the trail. Two are portable, being used to determine the best location for future sensors.
For more information about Pinellas County services and programs, visit www.pinellascounty.org.