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.