Pictured below is a newly installed pedestrian detection system at the intersection of Commercial and Franklin Streets:
As highlighted in this press release by the city, these new cameras have been installed at the pedestrian crossings at Commercial Street/Franklin Street and Park Avenue/Deering Avenue.These cameras use infrared stereo LED cameras (kind of like the Microsoft Kinect?) to detect pedestrians and sync the pedestrian and vehicle signals. This technology is being developed by Migma Systems, out of Massachusetts, and more technical information on the product can be found here and here. The system isn't currently for sale, as it is in field testing and Portland was picked as one of six demonstration cities for the technology.
I look forward to seeing the results of this trial, and stopping by these intersections to see it in action (I don't think it was on when I took the above picture). To sum this up, here is a commendable comment in the city's press release by Michael Bobinsky, Portland Public Services Director:
"Portland has long been a leader in advancing pedestrian safety and accessibility and it was great news that the city was chosen by FHWA and the Maine Department of Transportation for the installation of this cutting edge technology as it will help us continue our efforts to make this city a safe place to get around, whether on foot, bike or car."