LED street lights that brighten and dim with the time of day reduce carbon emissions and save money.

Caroline Ku
  • 22 july 2011

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This article titled “Smart street-lighting provides roundabout solution” was written by Steven Morris, for The Guardian on Wednesday 20th July 2011 16.59 UTC

A council in south-west England has installed what it claims to be the first smart street-lighting system on a busy roundabout.

More than 70 LED lights have been installed at the junction between Bath and Bristol. Their brightness automatically adjusts depending on how dark it is but also takes into account the number of vehicles on the road at any given time.

Bath and North East Somerset council believes it is one of the first times such a system has been put into place on such a busy road. It claims the lights will reduce carbon emissions and save £4,500 a year, although there is a initial outlay of £36,000.

The Hicks Gate roundabout at Keynsham used to be illuminated by a dull yellow sodium light at night but, under the 71 LED lights, the area can become almost as bright as daylight.

Councillor Roger Symonds, cabinet member for transport, said “We understand that this is one of the first instances in the country of this type of technology being used on a major traffic route. The lights will automatically adjust brightness levels according to the time of day and also the number of vehicles on the route at different times of night.

“The end result is that Bath and North East Somerset council saves money on behalf of local taxpayers, cuts our carbon footprint and makes the route even safer because the lights illuminate the carriage much more clearly for drivers and cyclists.”

The council said it and other local authorities have used LED lights in residential roads and to light footpaths, but it believes it is leading the way in setting up such a system, with the additional smart features, on a busy road.

Kelvin Packer, the council’s service manager for highways and parking, said: “Depending on the outcome of this trial, there is the possibility of extending this lighting and associated benefits to other areas of the district.” © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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