Los Angeles, always a place for bright lights and big dreams, is in the midst of an ambitious and cost-effective “smart city” renovation with LED street lights and a computerized control system. Smart cities use digital technology, networking and energy-saving systems to improve public safety, increase communication and cut costs as the population continues to move towards urban areas.
With 7500 centerline miles, LA has more streets than any other city in America. Mayor Eric Garcetti introduced his Great Streets Initiative to “provide economic revitalization, increase public safety, enhance local culture, and support great neighborhoods.” With over 110,000 streetlights currently outfitted with LED lights, the city will use the CityTouch system by Philips to network and manage the system with individual SIM chips installed in fixtures to tie them back to a central management system.
Not only do LED lights reduce energy consumption, they have a simpler and quicker installation and replacement procedure than traditional fixtures. Their networking capability will allow the city to remotely monitor and control the lights, as well as efficiently dispatch maintenance crews. In the future, LA could integrate the street lights with the city’s other information and infrastructure systems. For example, fire, police and ambulance vehicles could use flashing, digitally controlled streetlights to guide their route to emergencies.
Everyday Los Angelenos will begin to enjoy improved traffic, air quality and public safety as the system continues to expand. The current target is for more than 200,000 streetlights networked into the web-based CityTouch system, which includes the capacity to grow with the city’s need for additional “intelligent” streetlights and an ever-growing population.