17 Jul 18

Smart Street Lighting for Smart Traffic Management

Since street lighting is already widespread in cities, making them ‘smart’ and connected is globally on the rise. From smart traffic management to road safety, the possibilities are limitless.

Turning normal street lighting smart is a cost-effective way to make cities smart and enhance traffic management. Street lighting is already widespread on public roads, electrified, and located at the ideal height to collect an array of data via sensors and cameras. 

Traffic Management

If connected to management software, this data can be used immediately to enhance the traffic flow. If the embedded sensors register a traffic jam, due to a car accident, or traffic congestion, for instance, they can alert the traffic manager. The latter can provide the drivers with real-time traffic information via an adequate application, and stimulate them to adapt their route. 

The same strategy can be used to guide drivers to empty parking spots. If the smart street lighting detect empty parking spots, the information can be send to specific applications, where the driver can consult the nearest available parking spot. 

Road Management

Non-traffic related data can be captured as well. To increase road safety, for example, the street lighting can automatically be switched more bright if particular weather circumstances lower the visibility.  

The smart street lighting can capture data on road security as well, and cooperate with emergency centres. Signify, formerly a division of Philips, for example runs a pilot project in Los Angeles, with acoustic sensors to measure noise levels on the street. ‘Such technology could be modified to listen out for vehicle collisions or gun shots and then alert the emergency services,’ explains van Groningen from Signify.

Liveability & Connectivity

Smart street lighting could be used to enhance liveability in cities as well, by measuring air quality or by obtaining energy savings, by dimming or turning on or off the lighting remotely. On top of that, they can bring down operational costs, since the lighting can be equipped with self-measuring sensors, which prevents maintenance teams to drive around looking for defect lighting. 

Smart street lighting can be used as beacons as well, enhancing connected mobility and the connectivity of the road user. Signify has several pilot projects running in the US, to build smart pole projects into the streetlighting as well, such as the development of the Smart Fusion Pole, which can provide 4G/5G.

A Bright Future

With the promised advantages, from energy savings over operational efficiency to enhanced traffic management, the company sees a lot of potential growth in the future for the sector, globally, from pioneering Los Angeles, over Jakarta to Buenos Aires. And the countries that do not possess an extensive street lighting network? ‘In those countries we do see opportunities for the installation of solar street lighting, which may also be connected and controlled using Interact City.’

Image: Signify's Smart Fusion Pole (source: Signify)

Authored by: Fien Van den steen