How lighting sensors can help keep people safe

28th March 2018
Lanna Cooper

Increasing safety in Graz's Volksgarten is a key goal of both the local authorities and the 'GEMEINSAM.SICHER in Graz' association. Together with Zumtobel Group Services (ZGS), they have launched a pilot project to install intelligent luminaires in part of the public garden in the Austrian city, using vandal-resistant fittings that deliver high light levels and smart connectivity.

Motion detectors and noise sensors control the light depending on the current requirements and particular situation, increasing safety and making sure that visitors are no longer left in the dark.

Dornbirn, Austria - Parks are often poorly lit at night, which means that users frequently feel unsafe. Now a smart lighting solution has been realised in a public park in Graz to help make these feelings a thing of the past. Mayor Siegfried Nagl and Werner Miedl, Police Chief Inspector and Managing Director of 'GEMEINSAM.SICHER in Graz', an organisation that campaigns for improved safety, have shown their commitment to improving urban life in the city by initiating a pioneering pilot project.

“The Volksgarten represents urban quality of life, which is what we want to offer visitors at night,” revealed Werner Miedl. The previous low light levels also did little to help the fight against vandalism in the park.  

The answer was to put the garden in a whole new light - and with ZGS the city found just the right partner for this important project. ZGS supplied a solution for the test area that responds to movement and noise and then emits more light as and when required. This means that pedestrians are accompanied safely through the park by the light, which also helps to keep vandals and unsavoury characters at bay.

The combination of LED luminaires and the intelligent InCity lighting controls system from ZGS impressed the authorities from the very start - and the fact that the solution is made in Austria was a welcome additional benefit. The pilot project also features six SUPERSYSTEM outdoor luminaires from the Zumtobel brand. Following installation by Energy Graz, a team of ZGS service experts took responsibility for the commissioning of the entire system to guarantee optimum operation.

Light that accompanies pedestrians
The six SUPERSYSTEM outdoor luminaires, which are equipped with a combination of motion detectors and noise sensors, are dimmed to 20% as standard. As soon as one of the four fittings with a motion detector senses any kind of movement, the output is raised immediately to 50%. This pleasant light level accompanies people on their journey through the garden when the sun goes down, as the luminaires in front of the individual light up whilst the ones behind are dimmed down again after a certain amount of time.

Any movement in the area can therefore be perceived straight away, helping people to feel safer. The luminaires even respond to noise. If one of the two acoustic sensors picks up any noise, the SUPERSYSTEM outdoor fittings illuminate the area to 100% to replicate daylight conditions. This should scare off anyone causing a commotion and reduce noise pollution for those living nearby. In addition, this installation can also help police find their way to the scene of any incident.

Sophisticated, vandal-resistant and multi-zonal
SUPERSYSTEM outdoor is characterised by a strong combination of simple design and vandal resistance. Mounted at a height of 4.5m, the luminaires are installed significantly higher than the previous light points. The square pole is more difficult to climb and the compact light-output points with a small contact surface are less prone to vandalism.

The latest LED technology delivers an agreeable warm-white light and reduces light pollution. This is also good for sensitive insects that are sometimes disturbed by conventional luminaires. The module utilises 18 LEDs to generate multi-zonal light that reduces dark areas and provides tailored pathway illumination, creating an inviting setting for a safe evening walk.

A clever interplay of luminaires, sensors and lighting controls
The luminaires are controlled via InCity from ZGS - an intelligent web-based lighting controls system. InCity activates the fittings via a radio module when the sensors detect noise or movement. The accompanying software also displays the energy savings achieved by the new lighting solution, as the pilot project is currently saving around 60% energy.

This is thanks to light that adapts to suit the situation. The fittings are now dimmed for most of the night, yet even at full output, SUPERSYSTEM outdoor requires around 20% less energy than the original luminaries. A nearby gateway enables communication between the luminaires and the web server.

The system in the Volksgarten may become even more intelligent in the future, as the Graz authorities have the option to control the lighting centrally and remotely using dedicated software. This could be useful if, for example, the police are called in to deal with an incident in the public garden. InCity also supports the collection of additional information about factors such as noise levels, weather conditions and the identity-free movement of people.

Analysis of this data may eventually offer further useful opportunities. For example, showing the most popular routes across the park could facilitate more efficient cleaning and snow clearance work. “This pilot project has demonstrated how we can bring the park into the digital age – and, in doing so, actively maximise safety,” confirmed a delighted Mayor Nagl. “There hasn’t been any vandalism in the park area since the new luminaires were installed.”

Featured products

Upcoming Events

View all events
Latest global electronics news