Wireless Mesh Network Controls Road Lighting

By Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Lighting Retrofits Improve Efficiency, Safety in Parking Structures, Surface LotsPt. 2: Lighting Retrofits: Bi-Level Induction Lamps Reliable, EfficientPt. 3: LED Technology: Lamps Improve Light Quality, Performance LifePt. 4: This Page

With lighting-system retrofits in the parking structures and surface lots complete, the next phase of the Smart Lighting Initiative will focus on roads. Cioni and his team likely will specify bi-level induction technology for roadway fixtures, but they plan to use a different control strategy than they did with the parking structures and surface lots.

Roadway fixtures are a challenge to control because cars, pedestrians and bikes all are moving at different speeds, Cioni says.

"One of the approaches that we're considering is that when it's time for the lights to come on, they come on at full effect," he says. "In the early evening and even until maybe 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., you might have classes and students moving about. But around midnight, things should really be pretty quiet. So from midnight until sunrise, you have six hours usually to employ some kind of control during that period. Rather than occupancy-based, they might be set by time."

To implement the control strategy, Cioni and the CLTC plan to use a wireless mesh network. Each roadway fixture would feature radio-frequency transponders, allowing the university to control the lights in groups. This strategy is different than the one Cioni and his team used for fixtures in parking lots and structures, each of which has its own occupancy sensor for individual control.

"This (approach) would have an occupancy sensor at a point-of-entry fixture, and once it's activated, it turns that up to full power and, at the same time, sends a signal to the next two fixtures or a string of fixtures to have them come up so, that way, you can address the speed of vehicles," Cioni says.

While most lighting retrofits focus on interior fixtures, Cioni and his team have found a land of opportunity related to exterior lighting, and they're taking full advantage.

"I think people are more sensitive to quality of the light in interiors," Cioni says. "There's the perception that there really isn't much choice about quality of the light on the exteriors. This changes that a bit to help the discussion out."

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  posted on 9/24/2010   Article Use Policy

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