Europe’s streetlights are outdated. Replacing them could cut energy costs by up to 70% and save up to 2.1 billion euros in taxpayer money per year, according to Sharing Cities. Installing smart lamp posts in major European cities would also open up the opportunity to implement data collection initiatives, enhance internet connectivity, and pave the way for electric cars.
Sharing Cities, a smart cities programme funded by the European Union, plans to replace Europe’s streetlights with “smart lamp posts”. Street lighting costs European taxpayers an estimated €3 billion a year, and 75% of Europe’s streetlights are at least 25 years old. Smart lampposts reportedly use 50-70% less energy than the typical streetlight, and with those energy savings would also come cost cuts in yearly maintenance.
According to Nathan Pierce, programme director for Sharing Cities, that €3-billion yearly bill could be reduced to just €900 million with the installation of smart lampposts in European cities. As of March 16th, testing of these smart lampposts is underway in London, where Sharing Cities headquarters is located, and currently rolling out in Libson, Milan, Bordeaux, Burgas, and Warsaw. The initiative is to install 56,000 units of these smart lampposts across these six European cities.
Calling smart lampposts a “win-win”, Pierce says that this modern form of street lighting will “slash energy bills for taxpayers and make cities a more pleasant environment in which to live and work.”
But the potential benefits of replacing old streetlights go far beyond savings in energy. In a piece for The European, Pierce lays out the many features that smart lampposts offer in the way of bettering modern city life. Special sensors in these lampposts allow for data to be collected on air and noise pollution in the surrounding area. Cities will be able tap into these lampposts to closely monitor these metrics in order to better formulate efforts to reduce noise pollution and improve air quality. To further promote environmentally-friendly practices and reductions in pollution, smart lampposts are designed to double as charging stations for electric vehicles. In the meantime, smart lampposts are also equipped to provide Wi-Fi and enhance internet connectivity throughout urban areas in Europe, free of charge to citizens.
In addition to the problems of pollution and mobile data traffic, smart lampposts are put forward as a solution to traffic congestion on the roads, another area where member states of the European Union are paying billions of euros a year. Along with reports on air quality and noise levels, these lamppost sensors can also provide drivers with local data on traffic times and available parking spaces.
Sharing Cities advertise smart lampposts as a “swift and secure way to ‘bootstrap’ smart cities”, and solve problems that, according to programme director Nathan Pierce, “city mayors have grappled with for decades.”
Pierce tweeted Friday that “the key to smart technology will lie in saving councils money and helping to optimise resources.”
By adopting smart city solutions offered by Sharing Cities, cities throughout Europe can hope to save both money and resources in what Pierce is calling “a smart lamppost revolution.”