Applications of Street lights

Street lighting provides an important function; keeping pedestrians, drivers, and other roadway users safe, while promoting use of public spaces. Studies have shown that proper street lighting can substantially reduce fatalities and crashes with pedestrians and lighted intersections and highways have fewer crashes than their unlit counterparts. However, public lighting is costly for local governments. Streetlights have high hours of use (they are on for over 4,000 hours per year) and thus are large consumers of energy.

Intelligent street lighting:

Intelligent street lighting refers to public street lighting that adapts to movement by pedestrians, cyclists and cars. Intelligent street lighting also referred to as adaptive street lighting, dims when no activity is detected, but brightens when movement is detected. This type of lighting is different from traditional, stationary illumination or dimmable street lighting that dims at pre-determined times.

During night, all the lights on the highway remain ON for the vehicles, but lot of energy is wasted when there is no vehicle movement. Controlling of street light is of utmost importance in developing country like India to reduce the power consumption. Saving of this energy is a very important factor these days as energy resources are getting reduced day by day.

The Intelligent street light system comprises of a wireless digital infrastructure that allows street lights to be controlled remotely by means of a ubiquitous Wi-Fi link and a miniature computer housed inside each street light, allowing for security, energy management, digital media and data harvesting.

Street lights can be made intelligent by placing cameras or sensors on them, which enables them to detect movement and additional technology enables the street lights to communicate with one another. Different companies have different variations to this technology. When a passer-by is detected by a camera or sensor, it will communicate this to neighbouring street lights, which will brighten so that people are always surrounded by a safe circle of light.

Apart from the common features such as Controlling, Scheduling, Dimming, Wireless data transfer and Real time energy monitoring, there are many more roles that a street light can perform:

Street lights adding value:-

Afterglow believes some other features that can add more value to applications of street lighting are energy conservation, Homeland Security, public safety, traffic control, advertising, video surveillance.

1) Role of Streetlights in energy conservation.

The world is converging towards wireless as a communication channel and at the same time facing energy and environmental problems. We, here at Afterglow try to resolve the problem by mingling the Information Technology (IT) and power. Streetlights are among a city’s most important and expensive assets usually costs one third of the electricity bill. The system reduces the power of the LED lights according to outside conditions of light intensity as it has the ability to dim the lights. Generally, street lights are switched on for whole night and during the day, they are switched off. But during the night time, street lights are not necessary if there is no traffic. Saving of this energy is very important factor these days as energy resources are getting reduced day by day. Thus saving energy by the use of smart street lighting remains the prime aim for Afterglow.

2) Role of Streetlights in Homeland Security.

In terms of Homeland Security applications, each of the light poles contains a speaker system that can be used to broadcast emergency alerts, as well as a display that transmits “security levels”, in addition to showing instructions by way of its LED video screen.

The lights also include proximity sensors that can record both pedestrian and road traffic. The video display and speaker system will also be used to transmit Minority Report-style advertising, as well as Amber Alerts and other “civic announcements”.

3) Street lights with video surveillance.

Using street lights as surveillance tools has already been advanced by several European countries. In 2007, British authorities were working on proposals to fit lamp posts with CCTV cameras that would X-ray scan passers-by and “undress them” in order to “trap terror suspects”. We, at Afterglow, look forward to add similar additional features so that we along with an energy efficient street lighting we can also have a system that can be used to increase the security.

Systems with surveillance cameras use a speaker system to bark orders and reprimand people for dropping litter and other minor offenses. One of the most common phrases used to shame people into obeying instructions is to broadcast the message, “We are watching you.”

The transformation of street lights into surveillance tools for Homeland Security purposes will only serve to heighten concerns that India is fast on the way to becoming a high-tech police country, with a further indication that security measures we currently see in airports are rapidly spilling out onto the streets.

4) Role of Streetlights in controlling traffic.

Street light controllers are smarter versions of the mechanical or electronic timers previously used for streetlight ON-OFF operation. They come with energy conservation options like twilight saving, staggering or dimming. Also many street light controllers come with an astronomical clock for a particular location or a Global Positioning System (GPS) connection to give the best ON-OFF time and energy saving.

Many street light controllers also come with traffic sensors to manage the lux level of the lamp according to the traffic and to save energy by decreasing lux when there is no traffic. America, Canada, India and many other countries have started introducing street light controllers to their road lighting for energy conservation, street light management and maintenance purpose.

It helps to reduce carbon foot print and saves the environment. In commercial view it also helps to earn carbon credit for monitory benefit.

5) Role of Streetlights in speed detection

Another interesting application of having a smart streetlight is detection of speed that can ensure that the vehicles can move on the road with an average speed. Afterglow firmly relies on the principle of contribution – as to what impact our products have on the society and how we make it useful. By keeping the speed limit in check, accidents can be reduced and the streets are much safer to pass by.

You never know what is waiting in near future. Free Wi-Fi networks on street lights or maybe making the dustbin under the street light smarter by knowing when it is completely filled and can be replaced.

Well, surely there’s a lot to think about!

Afterglow truly believes in the vision of making the world a better, safer and smarter place to live in.

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