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Urbanova smart streetlights pilot hits milestone

Pilot also features a human-scale urban air quality research and development component

Spokane in Washington is home to the Urbanova living lab
Spokane in Washington is home to the Urbanova living lab

Urbanova, a smart city living lab in Spokane, Washington’s University District, has reached a key milestone with its smart and connected streetlights pilot which aims to increase energy efficiency and public safety.


Following data collection from sensors installed in 10 streetlights across the district, Urbanova’s founding partner Avista will install an additional 29 LED fixtures with dimming capabilities in the autumn.


With a 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 optimised to improve public safety or urban ambiance.


The pilot also features a human-scale urban air quality research and development 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 milestone represents one of Urbanova’s several accomplishments under its 2016 Envision America selection. We’ve been very deliberate about how we design our partnership as well as how we prototype the supporting technical platform,” said Kim Zentz, director, Urbanova and co-director, Washington State University smart cities initiative.


“We are developing Urbanova to be a community of learning for healthy cities, and we are looking forward to bringing additional partners into our collaboration.”


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 organisation 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, visualisation or business case development.


“This project is particularly important and exciting because Spokane is one of hundreds of similar mid-sized cities in the US that have rarely been studied for air pollution,” added 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 US.”



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