Meet the streetlights that save energy, fight crime and improve health

Thu, 2017-06-22 13:03 -- SCC Partner

If you haven’t already given some thought into making your streetlights smarter, now is a good time to start. Smart streetlights are a great first smart cities project because they provide tangible benefits, they’re relatively easy to deploy and they’re a great platform for other connected services.

The Urbanova pilot in Spokane, Washington, is worth watching — Council Lead Partner Itron is one its founding members — and you’ll read about some of the early benefits below. In addition to the usual benefits, like energy conservation, the streetlight platform is helping the city measure air quality and other environmental factors like never before. It’s a great example of how connected projects can provide wide ranging benefits.

And to get started in your city, check out our free Smart Street Lighting 101 guide. — Kevin Ebi


Urbanova, a smart city living lab in Spokane, Washington’s University District, has reached a key milestone with its Smart and Connected Streetlights Pilot, installing sensors on and collecting data from 10 streetlights across the district. Urbanova founding partner Avista will install an additional 29 LED fixtures with dimming capabilities in the fall. With the pilot, Urbanova is defining how to develop and design a living laboratory and harnessing data to gain insights, empower people and solve urban challenges in new ways.

 With the goal of increasing energy efficiency and public safety, the pilot enables the intelligent management and control of the streetlights using Itron’s OpenWay Riva Internet of Things (IoT) solution. The smart, connected sensor network provides the foundation for the streetlight pilot and future applications. The new generation streetlights not only save energy compared to predecessors, but they are also remotely controllable so that lighting conditions can be adjusted and optimized to improve public safety or urban ambiance.

“Smart street lighting is a great entry point into creating a smart city,” said Sharelynn Moore, vice president of global marketing and public affairs at Itron. “As a proving ground, Urbanova is taking it a step further by sharing data across partner organizations to see what’s possible and then sharing what we’ve learned with other cities. This open, collaborative environment is at the core of Itron’s vision for our OpenWay Riva IoT solution, which is the foundation for the Smart and Connected Streetlight Pilot and future pilots to come.”

 The pilot also features a human-scale urban air quality R&D component, measuring the quality of the air and other environmental factors to assess air quality’s role in a healthy city. The streetlights are capturing other data, including ambient temperature, ambient light, peak noise level, motion detection and pole orientation.

“This project is particularly important and exciting because Spokane is one of hundreds of similar mid-sized cities in the U.S. that have rarely been studied for air pollution,” said Von Walden, professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University. “The data gathered by the Smart and Connected Streetlight pilot will provide us with valuable insights into the links between air quality and health in our communities and will provide a template for deploying and operating sensor networks within comparable cities across the U.S.”

The data will provide insights into energy savings and efficiency and will be used with advanced weather and air quality models to improve understanding of micro-climates in urban areas. It will also provide unique and valuable information about how forest fires – which are common in the region – affect air quality and pollution in urban environments.

The Smart and Connected Streetlights Pilot plays a key role in helping Urbanova establish a data governance model and a shared platform architecture. The organization is discussing questions about data ownership, control and sharing. All six founding partners have access to the shared data that comes from the sensors to use for research, baseline data, visualization or business case development.