World’s first ‘smart street’ opens in London

A street in London has been transformed into the world’s first ‘smart street’, powered by pedestrians.

UK company Pavegen has installed a 10-square-metre array on Bird Street, just off Oxford Street, which generates electricity from the movements of people walking along it.

The energy harvesting walkway is designed to flex a small amount when stepped on, generating around 5 watts of continuous power per footstep. This energy is then either stored in a lithium polymer battery, or instantly supplied to nearby electrical equipment such as lights. The pavement also incorporates Bluetooth Low Energy transmitters which enable it to interact with apps, allowing users to be rewarded with discounts, vouchers and education resources for their steps on the Pavegen system.

Other features of the Bird Street transformation include Airlabs’ ClearAir bench, a specially made wooden bench which draws in polluted air and removes up to 95% of nitrogen dioxide to create a zone of clean air. The bench also displays real-time air quality monitoring data.

Elsewhere on Bird Street, there are pop-up stalls that have been painted with a special paint which purifies the air from NOx gases and bacteria.

In addition,┬áthe pop-ups themselves – ranging from independent fashion and lifestyle brands to ethical homeware stores – use mobile payment apps and incentivised digital selfie mirrors.

Welcoming the innovation, Alex Williams, Director of City Planning at Transport for London, said that the concepts and ideas seen on Bird Street could easily be adapted across London.

“I hope we can see further examples of this innovative 21st Century thinking in the future as we work to transform Oxford Street and the surrounding area to make it a world-class public space for all,” Williams added.

 

Sign up to our newsletter

Meet our experts