Smart lampposts both here and abroad

A lot is happening with smart technologies and lighting in the Low Countries. Smart lampposts have been installed in Utrechtse Heuvelrug in the Netherlands that not only provide lighting, but also have other applications, with a number of features that are good for the environment. Leuven is also investing in similar lampposts offering a range of useful functions.

Utrechtse Heuvelrug is planning to purchase a number of smart lampposts. The municipality wants to replace the current 8,000 lampposts with 6,000 new ones. A number of the replacements will be smart lampposts. The stipulation is that the features of the new lampposts are climate neutral. The municipality also wants to replace the outdated cable network belonging to Stedin, the network administrator. The sensors and equipment will be integral to the new lampposts. The sensor data is converted by a data platform to create information that is sent to third parties who want to share their services with the residents and other interested parties.

More than just lighting

One of the initial features of the smart lampposts for Utrechtse Heuvelrug is that the luminous intensity can be adjusted for each street, and even the lamppost itself can determine the intensity of the lighting in reaction to local circumstances. Noise can make the lamp shine brighter - e.g. the sound of a car window being smashed. This is possible thanks to the integrated sensors.

Other facilities on the lamppost include remote lighting maintenance, providing a WiFi network and also measuring the level of traffic and the air quality in a particular street. The lamppost can also measure the water level on the street, as well as providing a charging point for electric vehicles.

Although it is not yet certain whether all the features will be used following installation.

Only where necessary

The number of new lampposts in Utrechtse Heuvelrug will depend on the tendering process and the interest shown by companies. Initially it is expected that the numbers will be in the tens, and installed where they would be beneficial or are needed. The area of Utrechtse Heuvelrug where there is an increased risk will be most eligible for the new lampposts, for example for the prevention of burglaries, or at hazardous road junctions.

Other Dutch municipalities including Breda, Veldhoven and Amsterdam have already installed smart lampposts.

Leuven is testing smart lighting

Towns in Belgium are also testing the opportunities offered by smart lampposts. Smart lampposts were recently introduced in Leuven as a test project, with sites including the Grote Markt, the ring road and the area around the station. The lampposts have smart LED lighting and a number of other features. For example, at some locations in the town the lampposts can monitor air quality, safety and levels of traffic so that the authorities can quickly take action when required. The technology facilitates communications between the traffic lights, so that at busy times they can be adjusted to allow smoother flows of traffic. Parking places that are available can also be analysed so that drivers know where to park their cars. In addition, the lampposts are fitted with an ANPR camera and sensors allowing them to be used for monitoring security. The current technology is sufficiently advanced so that it can recognise abnormal situations. This means that the police can be informed as soon as something abnormal appears to be taking place.

The smart lampposts have currently been installed on a temporary basis. Once the test phase has been completed the technology will be installed on existing lampposts. The ultimate goal is to create a sustainable environment in which it is pleasant to live, study, work and relax.

(Source picture Leuven Station: