That is according to an EU smart cities programme which is pioneering the delivery of smart lampposts in six cities across Europe, including London, Lisbon and Milan.

European cities spend around €3bn on streetlighting each year, and this figure could be reduced to around €900m through smart lampposts, Sharing Cities research claims.

With three-quarters of current streetlights more than 25 years old, cost savings and reduced maintenance costs would also be made.

Smart lampposts can collect data on parking capacity availability, a trait which Sharing Cities said would provide an “ingenious way” to reduce air pollution levels and chronic congestion problems. Traffic jams are thought to cost EU member states €100bn a year.

Sharing Cities programme director Nathan Pierce labelled smart lampposts a “win-win” solution.

“They help slash energy bills for taxpayers and make cities a more pleasant environment in which to live and work,” he said. “Smart lampposts generate massive savings equivalent to employing tens of thousands of doctors or nurses every year. It’s key that cities embrace smart lampposts in a bid to free up money to be spent on vital public services.  

Sharing Cities is aiming to provide an initial 56,000 units in six cities including Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw, with an aim to roll-out intelligent streetlighting across the continent.

“We are on the precipice of a smart lamppost revolution,” Pierce added. “This is just the beginning.”  

Street lights

Cities across the globe are looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of their streetlight network through smart solutions.

The Square Mile is set to benefit from a new lighting strategy that will aim to complement historic buildings, improve energy usage and help tackle light pollution in the area. The City of London Corporation confirmed last month that “state-of-the-art” technology will coat urban spaces in carious lighting types, levels and colours and different times of the night.

A nationwide lighting replacement programme in Scotland last year means that nearly one-third of Scotland’s streets are LED-lit.

Elsewhere, mobile operator Vodafone has formed a partnership with Philips Lighting which combines an Internet of Things (IoT) network with an integrated LED street light management system, which could see cities across the world slash energy use by 70%.

George Ogleby

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