VTTI Tests On-Demand Roadway Lighting

Vehicles are expected to play a big part in the Internet of Things. By 2020, 250 million connected vehicles will be on the road, creating new services and driving capabilities, according to Gartner, Inc.

Infotainment is high in demand, though other capabilities are enabled, including crash warning, traffic violation warning and relaying weather, traffic and other data. Vehicles share basic safety information, including their position, heading and speed.

Another capability is adaptive lighting that responds to these signals, resulting in potential for “on demand” roadway lighting systems that save energy by operating only when needed. Low-traffic roadways are considered a major application for this approach, notably roadways with low night-time traffic levels and rural roadways with no roadway lighting and high accident rates.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) recently put this idea to the test on the Virginia Smart Road, creating a responsive roadway lighting system now ready for a wide range of human-factors and other testing. The project won a 2015 Lighting Control Innovation Award of Merit as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards. The Lighting Control Innovation Award is sponsored by the Lighting Controls Association.

The Smart Road Project
The Virginia Smart Road is a 2.2-mile stretch of road that serves as a closed test-bed for new transportation technologies. Scientists and product developers have conducted more than 20,000 hours of testing on the road since it opened.

The road features dimmable LED lighting connected via a wireless mesh network. LED lighting is instant-ON, with negligible wear and tear on the system during activation.

VTTI envisioned a customized lighting control scheme in which roadway luminaires are turned ON in front of a moving vehicle and OFF once the vehicle has passed, without affecting driving performance.

VTTI recognized dimming and response to weather and traffic conditions as additional capabilities but considered these outside the scope of the project.

The on-demand control system
The Smart Road on-demand lighting control scheme marries LED roadway luminaires, connected-vehicle technology and DSRC wireless communication. It consists of a lighting controller, or processor, receiving inputs from both vehicles and luminaires, and then acting upon luminaires using custom programming.


The vehicle continuously broadcasts its GPS location, speed and heading information. Roadside receivers pick up this information and pass it on to the lighting controller. Meanwhile, luminaire status (ON/OFF) is fed to these receivers or directly to the lighting controller. As for luminaire location, it’s stored in memory.

The lighting controller decides how far in advance of the vehicle to turn a luminaire ON and how far behind it to turn the luminaire OFF. This decisionmaking is based on a sophisticated algorithm that accounts for vehicle information and other variables such as pavement type, friction distance required to stop, and potentially visibility conditions.

Communication occurs using dedicated short-wave communication (DSRC); VTTI already had DSRC-enabled vehicle and receiver stations being used on the Smart Road. VTTI identified DSRC at 5.9 GHz as the most reliable, effective and efficient technology. However, it has a limited range of 3,280 feet.

Another option is cellular, which has a longer range (2.5-3.7 miles), though it has an end-to-end latency of 1.5 to 3.5 seconds (compared to less than 100 milliseconds for DSRC). The vehicle broadcasts via cell phone to base transceiver stations, which relays the signal to a traffic management center.

Besides these two options, VTTI recognized that other communication pathways could be used. VTTI acknowledged its DSRC-based approach requires a centrally managed system that may not be possible on roadways lacking required infrastructure. Many new roadway luminaires have individually addressable wireless controllers, which may allow a distributed scheme.

Photo by Ronald Gibbons

In “An Experimental On-Demand Roadway Lighting System,” a paper by Matthew E. Palmer, Ronald Ribbons PhD and Arash Jahangiri of VTTI, the authors concluded: “The on-demand roadway lighting system developed by VTTI is working as designed and is ready for human-factors experimentation. The system can turn luminaires ON and OFF with good performance. The latency is low enough to be unnoticeable to the vehicle operator at speeds up to 55 MPH.”

What’s next
On-demand roadway lighting has the potential to produce significant energy savings while respecting traffic safety. VTTI considers its on-demand roadway lighting system to be superior to typical motion-based technologies because it is dynamic and can be tuned to the vehicle.

The researchers intend to conduct human-factors experiments and refine the system by potentially enabling the algorithm to run on multiple servers, testing at speeds higher than 55 MPH, incorporating variable luminaire spacing, addressing driver age, including motorcycles and heavy trucks, and adding dimming and response to weather factors.

Leviton Announces Intellect™ Intelligent Fixture Control System

Leviton recently announced its new Intellect™ Intelligent Fixture Control System, an energy-saving, code-compliant solution that simplifies fixture control integration and operation. The system is designed for out-of-the-box Title 24, ASHRAE 90.1, and IECC code compliance.

Intellect delivers a fast and easy OEM solution for fixture manufacturers to integrate intelligent controls into their lighting fixtures.

The plug-and-play Intellect fixture control system features self-commissioning capabilities, which locate, assign, auto-group and auto-zone all light fixtures in the space and set lighting levels based on a pre-determined logic without expensive wiring or commissioning. It utilizes local and cloud control for advanced lighting control, including 0-10V dimming, occupancy sensing and daylighting strategies. The Intellect mobile application (app) allows the system to be wirelessly configured, controlled, monitored and scheduled via a Bluetooth enabled iOS or Android smart phone or tablet. Intellect also includes an energy metering feature which monitors energy usage for each fixture via the Intellect app.

Click here to learn more about Intellect-enabled luminaires from Intense Lighting, a Leviton Company.

Virginia Smart Road Project Wins 2015 IES Lighting Control Innovation Award

The Lighting Control Innovation Award was created in 2011 as part of the Illuminating Engineering Society’s Illumination Awards program, which recognizes professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. LCA is proud to sponsor the Lighting Control Innovation Award, which recognizes projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications.

This month, we will explore the role that lighting controls play in an innovative project involving just-in-time roadway lighting. Lighting control design by Ronald Gibbons heading a design team at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Customized lighting control system with a Suvari vehicle communication system.

Realizing the issues with ongoing cost and maintenance of roadway lighting, a challenge to develop a system to reduce energy consumption by as much as 80% was undertaken. This design uses lighting only when and where it is needed without reducing driver performance. A custom lighting control system to provide “Just In Time” Lighting for roadway applications was developed that turns luminaires on in front a moving vehicle and turns them off once the vehicle has passed.


An in-vehicle connected vehicle system, to be mandated in new vehicles starting in 2020, is used to communicate with the control system. The vehicle transmits the GPS location, speed and orientation of the vehicle through a dedicated short range communication (DSRC) system to equipment located along the roadside.


This information is then passed to a processor that determines which luminaires are required for the vehicle. The system allows for variable luminaire spacing in front and behind each vehicle to allow for driver comfort and safety considerations.


The on and off signal are then transmitted wirelessly to a custom lighting control box at each luminaire location. As this system is a research-based configuration, the custom luminaire control allows for the selection between 3 luminaires mounted on each tower and the dim level of each.


This approach to controls is superior to typical motion-based technologies as the control system is dynamic and can be tuned to each vehicle. This system allows for a variation in the lighting behavior based on vehicle speed, presence of other vehicles and potential vehicle to vehicle or vehicle to infrastructure conflicts. Future enhancements include variations based on driver age and incorporation of next generation DSRC enabled mobile phones. This project was completed with funding from the Connected Infrastructure University Transportation Center on time and on budget.


ETC Expands Unison Echo Product Line

Echo Expansion Bridge

Echo Expansion Bridge

ETC continues to expand its Unison Echo® line of products with two new products – Echo Expansion Bridge and Echo-Echoflex Interface.

The Echo Expansion Bridge extends the Echo control system. Each Echo Expansion Bridge can contain up to four Echo segments, each segment supporting the existing Echo maximum of 16 spaces with each space allowing up to 16 zones of control. This means that Echo control systems are now able to include up to 64 Echo devices, such as Inspire® stations, Occupancy/Vacancy sensors, light sensors and output products.

EchoFlex interface

EchoFlex interface

When combined with the EchoAccess™ mobile app, Echo Expansion Bridge is able to allow access to the Echo network over a secure wireless access point, allowing users to configure and control the Echo control systems from tablets and smartphones. Echo Expansion Bridge also provides all-inclusive control between Unison Paradigm® and Echo control systems. Paradigm systems can output commands to the Echo control system, letting users activate and deactivate presets in Echo spaces and directly control zones.

Another addition to the Unison Echo family is the Echo-Echoflex Interface. Using a built-in 902 MHz EnOcean radio, the interface enables communication between Echo and Echoflex wireless devices without any additional wiring. Four inputs and outputs let users expand their current system with devices such as Keycard and Switch Stations, and Occupancy/ Vacancy Sensors. Plus the Echo-Echoflex Interface facilitates control of Echoflex power controllers from any Echo control system.

Synapse Wireless Unveils New Feature Sets to Controls Platform

simplysnapSynapse Wireless recently announced new feature sets to the company’s wireless lighting control platform, SimplySNAP.

SimplySNAP is an on-site lighting solution that monitors and controls lighting installations from a mobile device without requiring an Internet connection. This solution enables storage and display of power data, alarms and critical events for maintenance and troubleshooting. The system partners with low-voltage switches, photocells and occupancy sensors using Synapses’ line-of DIM10 lighting controllers.

Additions to the latest SimplySNAP release include auto-discovery of controlled lights, which greatly simplifies the commissioning process. Users can also upload their own floorplan images or site drawings to create custom scenes for granular control. Synapse has also added a new member to the SS420 site-controller family, the SS450, which comes equipped with a cellular option, providing more network connectivity options to the user that doesn’t have local internet available and wants to access their installation remotely. In addition, SimplySNAP has made adding controls even simpler by introducing the TL5-B1 wireless lighting controller that is compatible with the ANSI C136.41 dimming-compliant receptacle.

Synapse Lighting Control Solutions have been recognized in the past with several industry awards, including a 2015 Connected Home & Building Innovation Award, a 2015 Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award, a 2015 Smart Machines Innovation Award, and most recently were awarded the Electrical Construction & Maintenance Product of the Year Award for 2015.

Click here to learn more.

ENERGY STAR Consumer Guide to Dimmable LED Lighting

energy star

NEMA Says DOE Efforts on Border Enforcement Fall Short

In written comments filed with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) emphasized its support for federal energy conservation standards and efforts by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prevent noncompliant products from entering the country. However, NEMA expressed concern about the DOE’s strategy regarding noncompliant products and recommends that government agencies better utilize available data to protect consumers from illegal imports.

“NEMA welcomes the DOE’s attention to the issue, but the proposal falls well short of accomplishing the goal because the agency is not addressing noncompliant products that have never been declared,” said NEMA President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff. “Moreover, why should the DOE impose duplicative paperwork burdens on compliant manufacturers when the agency already has the information on file?”

This is the second set of comments that NEMA has submitted on this rulemaking, as the DOE reopened the comment period on May 16 for its December 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. NEMA’s initial set of detailed comments on the proposal were filed in March.

“The DOE appears to be ignoring the issue of interdicting imports of products for which documentation does not yet exist,” explained Cosgriff. “In addition, the DOE has not responded in writing with its views on the viability of a trusted trader approach that NEMA recommends, especially for high-volume importers. Such a program would address regulatory burden concerns for law-abiding manufacturers and importers.”

NEMA’s Business Conditions Indexes Continue Upward Trend in June

June marks the third consecutive month in which NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) improved. The current conditions index increased from May’s reading of 53.3 to reach 59.4 in June. More respondents saw change in business conditions, for better or worse, than did so in May. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported better conditions in June, up from only 20 percent of those responding in May while 19 percent indicated worse conditions, up from 13 percent in the previous month. Forty-four percent noted that conditions were unchanged this month, down considerably from the 67 percent reporting unchanged conditions in May.

The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in electroindustry business conditions remained unchanged from May, as the mean response was +0.2. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).

The EBCI for future conditions improved as well, bumping up to 59.4 in June from 56.7 last month. More respondents also see changing conditions in the future as well, with 44 percent anticipating better conditions versus only 27 percent in May and 25 percent expecting worse conditions compared to 13 percent last month. Those expecting little to no change dropped from 60 percent in May to 31 percent this month.


Leviton Launches Lumina RF 0-10V Dimmer for Wireless Energy Management Automation Platform

levitonLeviton’s Lumina™ RF Decora® Wall Switch Dimmer combines dimming capabilities for any 0-10V controlled load with wireless automation. The ZSD07 device can be used for stand-alone lighting control or attached to the Lumina RF and Lumina Gateway automation eco-system for ease of operations and energy savings in new light commercial construction and retrofits. Pairing the dimmer with a Lumina Gateway allows users to automatically dim/brighten lights at scheduled preset times or control remotely via a touchscreen or app.

The ZSD07 is the optimal smart wireless control solution for retrofit applications where LED, incandescent or fluorescent lighting controls are required and additional wiring devices are cost prohibitive. The dimmer features an aesthetic intuitive design with a robust manual rocker switch coupled with a slender raise/lower side bar for ON/OFF and dim/brighten control as well as a stylish backlit dimming LED indicator. When connected to a Lumina Gateway automation system, it allows facilities to create scalable wireless energy management systems. Three-way control capability can be easily achieved using the Lumina Gateway setup software.

The new Lumina RF smart dimmer accepts input voltages of 120, 230, and 277VAC and features a commercial grade 10 Amp load control with a mechanically held latching relay for high inrush loads. It replaces traditional standard wall switches with no additional wiring required. The wireless range between devices in a Lumina RF eco-system is optimized at 75 feet, ensuring a wide mesh network across a small commercial facility. The ZSD07 is UL and CSA Listed and meets ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2010 and California Title 24 2013 energy code requirements for daylighting, space/area control, dimming, manual-ON/OFF, occupancy control and automatic shutoff.

Click here to learn more.

Philips EvoKit LED Retrofit Kits Now Available with Onboard Sensors

philipsPhilips Lighting’s EvoKit LED retrofit kits enable 2×2 and 2×4 fluorescent troffers to be upgraded to LED technology. Sensor-ready kits are available allowing compatible sensors to be field-installed by inserting the sensor into a pre-cut hole in the kid and connecting two wires to terminals. This can be done before or after the kit’s installation.

The Philips EasySense fixture-mount sensor combines occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting and institutional task tuning in a single unit.