Bright ideas for street lights
High-tech sensors could be installed in streetlights to save power and ease traffic jams.
A James Cook University PhD student is working on a project that may see traffic and weather sensors inside every streetlight.
Karl Mohring says the technology already exists, but the trick is to make it cost-effective.
“The aim is to install intelligent control modules into every street light. The modules will monitor the road and dim the lights whenever the road is not in use.”
He said detected cars or pedestrians will cause the lights to operate normally, supplying light only when it is needed - greatly reducing power consumption, running costs, and the carbon footprint of roads, without sacrificing safety.
Mr Mohring said the modules could also possibly identify where and when traffic jams occur and integrate with traffic signals to smooth out traffic flow.
He is conducting a survey to see if there would be sufficient uptake and support for the cost of installing the modules.
“I'm calculating the cost versus the benefits, which include electrical savings, and public utility. The survey aims to put a dollar value on that public utility, as well as gauge the extent to which the public would actually use possible features,” he said.
Mr Mohring said each module could also monitor the weather to provide a highly detailed and up-to-date map of the city climate – down to the level of individual streets.
“With a module in every street light, the recorded data provides a rich platform for further research in several fields, including walkability studies, and applications in building management systems,” he said.
The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and can be found here.