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Streetlights are widely recognised as the ‘gateway’ to smart cities. They are conveniently situated at regular intervals adjacent to the roads and footpaths that connect our towns and cities; they have a power supply and the light source is mounted on secure infrastructure high above the carriageway.
Many local authorities have already invested in Central Management Systems (CMS) to allow total flexibility and control for lighting policy, resulting in efficiency gains and substantial financial savings.
The resulting connected network now offers multiple possibilities and opportunities to assist with the development and deployment of smart applications. From the monitoring and reporting of air quality, noise, road temperature, gully status, waterways, weather conditions, footfall and vehicle counts, through to EV charging and dynamic lighting control, the applications are infinite, resulting in more efficient and intelligent use of resources.
However, for local authorities looking to implement smart applications, which after all can potentially impact every single resident within the boundaries of the city or county, it is imperative to trial such technology. This is exactly what Slough Borough Council has done with the assistance of Mayflower Smart Control and Hyperion Infrastructure Consultancy – work that this article is going to focus on and highlight.
SLOUGH’S FIRST STEPS TO ‘SMART’
Early in 2016, Slough Borough Council made its first steps into ‘smart’ by installing our CMS. The inclusion of Mayflower CMS with LED lanterns into its borough-wide street lighting upgrade project is now delivering energy savings of 43%. It is also providing the council with the ability to manage and regulate its lighting dynamically, whilst directly monitoring the performance of its streetlights.
Following the completion of the upgrade project in 2017, the council opted to maximise its investment in CMS and LED by commissioning Hyperion to undertake an adaptive street lighting trial.
This took place over a period of two months (between February to March 2018) and was designed to determine a number of factors that could affect implementation of the CMS into any new lighting policy. This included:
During this time Hyperion worked closely with both us at Mayflower and energy consultancy Power Data Associates to ensure the trial would reach its intended objectives.
Prior to the rollout of the trial, extensive risk assessment and contingency planning was also carried out to ensure minimal potential disruption to council residents. One element of this was gauging the impact of dimming on CCTV imagery, as it was essential to determine the optimal dimming level for streetlights near CCTV cameras that would still maintain the clarity of CCTV images. Extensive pre-trial testing concluded that dimming regimes of up to 50% displayed no visual depreciation of image quality.
PUTTING THEORY INTO PRACTICE
Following an in-depth proposal from Hyperion, two areas in the borough, Chatford Road and Common Road, were selected as the test-beds for the dimming regimes.
The trial dimming was in effect from the hours of 10pm until 6am every day over a period of two months in these areas.
A total of 923 individual streetlights in the areas (out of a total stock of 10,752 or 9% of the total) were dimmed in accordance with the lighting regime as shown in figure 1 below.
|Area||Number of columns dimmed to the following level||Total|
Figure 1. How Slough’s trial dimming programme was distributed
RIGHT LIGHT, RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
Arguably, of course, the most important stakeholder for any local authority is its residents. Upgrading to LED can sometimes lead to complaints from residents, with – to cite just two recent examples – councils in Stockton and Liverpool experiencing media storms following a switchover to LED .
In the case of Slough, given the time and geographical scale of the trial, no prior information was communicated to residents other than through Slough’s Disability Forum. This, it was recognised, did create the possibility of a potential adverse reaction from residents of the borough, particularly those in the trial areas. However, it is pleasing to report that during the trial period there was no adverse reaction from residents to the dimming.
Safety is also naturally paramount when working with any client, but particularly the public sector and emergency services. To be able to respond to emergency service requests for additional lighting in areas that were dimmed, we created a login for Hyperion and Slough’s CCTV and care teams to override the pre-set lighting profiles.
However, again, during the trial period there were no requests from the emergency services or other instances where the CCTV and care team had to override the lighting profiles that were set.
As highlighted earlier, Slough’s existing successful LED replacement programme, which covers the whole of the borough, has already generated extensive savings, notably reducing CO2 emissions by 43%. There has also been a 26% reduction in energy costs from LED replacement alone. Following the trial period, it was concluded that implementing our CMS across the borough would result in multiple additional savings for Slough, including:
COLLABORATION IS KEY
By 2050, it is projected that 68% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas (United Nations, 2018) and this increasing population, combined with the development of new technologies will lead to the future of smart cities sooner than we think .
But it must be recognised this future will not become a reality without collaboration from colleagues, clients and industry partners alike.
In the case of this trial, it was the continual collaboration of multiple parties – Slough’s care and CCTV teams, Slough Disability Forum, Hyperion Infrastructure Consultancy, Slough Borough Council itself and us at Mayflower Smart Control – that made it possible.
And don’t just take our word for it. Here are comments from some of the key stakeholders.
Chris Spong, director of Hyperion Infrastructure Consultancy, said: ‘This has been an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the real savings that can be achieved through adaptive street lighting as well the practical application of the risk-based approach set out in the ILP’s PLG08 Guidance on the application of adaptive lighting in the public realm and advocated in Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: a Code of Practice.’
Sing-Wai Yu, service manager at Slough, Reading and Wokingham LED Upgrade Project, added: ‘Working with reliable, informed and collaborative partners made this experience straightforward, interesting and enjoyable. Investment in a CMS is paying dividends above the savings from the LED/CMS investment and we continue to explore many additional applications and opportunities with our CMS partner Mayflower Smart Control to enable a smart environment for the residents of Slough.’
Ultimately, it is the combined efforts of all parties that have provided a justified use case for Slough Borough Council and allowed for substantial energy usage savings.
By working collaboratively in this way, Slough Borough Council has taken the first steps to becoming a ‘smarter’ city and, through further continued partnership and collaborative working, we fully expect it to realise the true potential of smart city technology.
I’ll leave the final word to Patrick Mitchell, head of Mayflower Smart Control, who has said of the project: ‘This project shows just how committed Slough Borough Council is in maximising the benefits of the installed Mayflower CMS. Using the Mayflower technology and Hyperion’s project management expertise this trial has provided sufficient data to allow Slough Borough Council to determine exactly what lighting levels are best for which areas across the borough. We continue to work with SBC on smart applications utilising the Mayflower network in collaboration with our smart sensor partners.’
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