Local startup pathVu wants to make the nation’s sidewalks accessible to all. Here’s how. (Vision Zero Watch)

“There’s starting to be this shift in how sidewalks are looked at,” he says. “Initiatives like Complete StreetsVision Zero, walkability and pedestrians plans and things like that are starting to become more prevalent.”

Here’s the key: Any practical effort to improve pedestrian access will require a wealth of dependable and current data on the conditions of local sidewalks. For the vast majority of communities, that data simply doesn’t exist.

That’s where pathVu comes in.

pathVu’s flagship product is the pathMet (Pathway Measurement Tool), which Sinagra originally designed and tested while pursuing his master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. It’s a stroller-like device that uses mounted laser sensors to gather highly detailed data about sidewalk conditions as it rolls throughout the urban environment (see above photo).

With this data in hand, a city’s government can then identify areas of greatest need and spend their resources accordingly.