Street-level Flooding Platform: Sensing and Data Sharing for Urban Accessibility and Resilience


Of the myriad climate change impacts, flooding is expected to have an outsized influence on public health and infrastructure. In New York City, for example, sea-level rise and high-intensity rainstorms (which convey large volumes of water to drains, leading to backups and overflows) have led to a dramatic increase in flood risk, particularly in low-lying and coastal neighborhoods. The physical presence of standing water on streets and sidewalks can impede mobility and restrict access to transportation. 

Additionally, urban floodwater contains a diverse array of contaminants, including industrial and household chemicals, fuels, and sewage. Access to real-time information on flooding can improve resiliency and efficiency by allowing residents to identify navigable transportation routes and make informed decisions to avoid exposure to floodwater contaminants. While there exist commercially available sensors that detect the presence of water inside homes, there is an unmet need for hyperlocal information on the presence and depth of street-level floodwater.

Research Objectives

The objective of this project is to develop a publicly- accessible platform that provides real-time flood information. The goals are to develop a flood sensor that overcomes common sensor challenges (including durability, connectivity, and power), as well as the digital infrastructure necessary to log, process, and present the data in combination with other publicly available information, such as rainfall data, 311 flooding complaints, and social media feeds. There are many potential applications of this proposal, including incorporation with the PIs’ ongoing research into potential exposure to sewage-associated pathogens following urban flood events.

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Elizabeth Henaff

Assistant Professor, NYU

Elizabeth Henaff is the Principal Investigator on this project.

Andrea Silverman

Assistant Professor, NYU

Andrea Silverman is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

Charlie Mydlarz

Assistant Professor, NYU

Charlie Mydlarz is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

Tega Brain

Assistant Professor, NYU

Tega Brain is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

Junaid Ahmed Khan

Affiliated Researcher, NYU

Junaid Ahmed Khan is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

Praneeth Challagonda

Researcher, NYU

Praneeth Challagonda is a Researcher on this project.