Digital City Projects

Portland skyline
Trees on campus

Three areas of focus

The Digital City Testbed Center employs academic, corporate, and nonprofit campuses around the Pacific Northwest as testbeds for new technologies that improve urban quality of life in three main areas: smart trees, smart corridors, and improving accessibility for those with disabilities using technology.

Smart Trees

Digital City Testbed Center (DCTC) is partnering with researchers inside and outside the university to track the health of urban trees using sensor technology. The sensors monitor everything from temperature and humidity to air quality to help track the health of urban trees in an effort to better preserve it. The work includes researchers from Reed College, Washington State University-Vancouver, The Nature Conservancy, and the U.S. Forest Service to evaluate how the health of trees in cities varies with temperature, humidity, shade, elevation, and proximity to roads.


Digital City Testbed Center (DCTC) is working with faculty researchers on a variety of accessibility-focused projects. Researchers Martin Swobodzinski and Amy Parker are laying the groundwork for digital apps that will help travelers of all abilities navigate both indoors and out. They are mapping the PSU campus recording everything from the width of the walkway inside buildings to the slope of the sidewalks outside. The goal is to develop suggested routes based on a wide range of abilities whether you’re traveling in a wheelchair or using a cane or service animal.

Smart Corridors

Digital City Testbed Center (DCTC) is part of a network of campus testbeds that include the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington to test multiple new technologies on different campuses. Projects include partnering with Downtown AI to analyze the routes and modes of transportation that students and staff use for transportation planning and a partnership with Cisco and Sensible Building Science to use Portland State University's wireless routers to track building occupancy as a way to target increased uptake of fresh air and venting to dilute and disperse any COVID-19.