How Las Cruces, NM is using Soofa Pro data to justify the expense of a public WiFi network

las-cruces.jpg
We felt the permanent infrastructure approach was cost prohibitive and had no data to support a return on investment. During the time of the study, new Soofa technology came to light that is a much more modular approach, smaller in scope and will provide an incremental approach to provide service in the area.
— Andy Hume, Downtown Planning and Development Coordinator, Las Cruces, NM
 

Installation At A Glance

Project Start Date: March 2017

Products Deployed: Soofa Bench Pro, Soofa Core Pro

Key Goals: Measure pedestrian activity downtown to quantify the potential number of total users for a future public WiFi network; count attendance at multiple events like farmers' markets and music festivals; use data to inform community planning and development decisions

Selected Media Coverage: GovTech Magazine, Las Cruces Sun News

 

Las Cruces transforms data into information to make key strategic decisions that benefit its community and attract visitors

In March 2017, the City of Las Cruces, NM partnered with Soofa to analyze pedestrian activity levels in its downtown core to evaluate whether there is enough use by residents and visitors to justify a major capital expenditure on a public WiFi network.

By installing Soofa Pro Benches and Cores along Main Street and in the city's central plaza space, city leaders will gather valuable baseline data on how many people frequent downtown every hour of the day, every day of the week. In addition to being able to quantitatively evaluate the need for free public WiFi based on actual use of the space, city council members and city departments will no longer be required to guess when the town is the busiest, where people tend to spend the most time when they visit, or which events are the most popular; with Soofa Pro data, decision makers now have unparalleled insights into how people use downtown public spaces. 

 

Scope Of The Project

Phase one covers six blocks, providing the the City of Las Cruces novel data on just how many people spend time downtown, when they tend to go there, and how long they usually stay.

The first Soofa Bench was revealed to the local community on Earth Day. The remaining units were installed shortly before a popular country music festival, collecting data immediately on how many people came out for the event.  

Soofa_Spots-NM Example.jpg
 

Data gathered from Soofa Pro sensors will drive economic development and planning decisions

After evaluating numerous proposals to install and operate a free public WiFi network downtown, the Las Cruces city council was faced with a decision to spend nearly $400,000 to provide WiFi in the city's main plaza space alone. Without having reliable baseline data on how the plaza and adjacent city blocks were actually getting used by the public, approving such a large capital spend would come down mainly to an intuitive understanding of how many people spend time downtown and when they tend to go.

With Soofa Pro data the city will now collect baseline data on activity of the main downtown core and plaza to objectively analyze whether there is enough volume of people consistently to justify such a large capital expenditure on a public service. 

Each location is either a Soofa Bench or Soofa Core. The X-axis is the day of the month and the Y-axis is the activity level on each day per location. 

Each location is either a Soofa Bench or Soofa Core. The X-axis is the day of the month and the Y-axis is the activity level on each day per location. 

As the example data visualization to the right illustrates, city leaders will now be able to see how different blocks and locations along Main Street get used and trafficked by people over the course of weeks, months, seasons, and more. 

 

Want to learn more? Connect with our smart city data team to see how Soofa Pro works and is being used to fuel smarter decision making.