A ‘proof of concept’ trial on a new generation of intelligent street lighting has been completed on England’s M40 motorway at Junction 15, Longbridge Roundabout near Birmingham – showing that CCTV and wireless communications can be neatly installed within the lanterns of street lights.

The Illuminate trial took place over five months last year and successfully proved the concept. The technology was able to communicate data to office equipment and tablet computers, paving the way for comprehensive V2X networks of the future for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

Drivers would have been oblivious to the CCTV and communications technology hidden away in the street lamp as it was installed when the lights were switched to the improved, greener LED lighting. The luminaires, called V-Max, were supplied by manufacturer Holophane while MWay installed the technology inside the luminaires and worked on the software which enables the communications.

Street lighting incorporating technology on the M40’s Junction 15 roundabout, UK

National Highways worked with Kier Highways on the Illuminate trial. Kier Highways project manager, Carla Vicente, says, “Being able to install technology, such as CCTV, while we are replacing street lighting is a more efficient way of working and provides better value for customers. More importantly, it is a safer and less disruptive way of working, reducing the amount of road closures required.”

National Highways’ innovations lead for the Midlands, Lisa Maric, adds:  “These are exciting times as we progress on our Digital Roads journey with the growth of digital technology and the move to electric, connected and autonomous vehicles that will fundamentally change how we use roads in the future.

“National Highways is committed to ensuring we are at the forefront of this digital revolution and are preparing the way for the greener and safer roads of tomorrow.

“Initial trials such as Illuminate will help us identify new innovations, technology and methods to meet our digital goals. We were pleased with how Illuminate performed as a proof of concept and the useful knowledge gained as we continue to plan for the roads of the future.”

The trial has been funded through National Highways’ Innovation and Modernisation Fund which is helping to maximise the opportunities offered by developments such as automated vehicles while putting safety at the forefront of emerging technologies.


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