Good Thinking

Philips unveils poleless street lighting system

FreeStreet is a suspended street lighting system, that doesn't require streetlight poles
FreeStreet is a suspended street lighting system, that doesn't require streetlight poles
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FreeStreet is a suspended street lighting system, that doesn't require streetlight poles
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FreeStreet is a suspended street lighting system, that doesn't require streetlight poles
FreeStreet is designed to help declutter urban streets
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FreeStreet is designed to help declutter urban streets
FreeStreet is said to be 40 percent more energy efficient than sodium lighting
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FreeStreet is said to be 40 percent more energy efficient than sodium lighting
FreeStreet, installed on a street in Eindhoven
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FreeStreet, installed on a street in Eindhoven

A group of people including city planners and architects recently put a challenge to Dutch electronics company Philips: design an outdoor lighting system that helps to declutter our streets. The result was FreeStreet, a street lighting system that does away with vertical streetlight poles in favor of horizontally-strung cables that have clusters of LED lights built into them. The system won its designers a 2011 Dutch Design Award, and is available for use in Europe as of this month.

The cables are suspended to run parallel to the street that they’re lighting, and must be electrically sourced to the streetfront facade every 100 meters (328 feet) – according to Philips, the figure for most other suspended systems is closer to about every 20 meters (66 feet). Additionally, FreeStreet is said to be up to 40 percent more energy efficient than traditional sodium street lighting. That said, no figures area available concerning how its light output compares.

The four-bulb LED clusters themselves are designed to emulate drops of fluid along the cable, in that they are smoothly integrated into it, as opposed to simply being clamped on. This feature is intended to make the system less visually obtrusive ... and while it could be argued that FreeStreet does indeed eliminate the vertical clutter of streetlight poles, along with freeing up the sidewalk space that they occupy, it looks like it does contribute somewhat to the overhead clutter of power and/or trolley lines.

A pilot project for the technology is planned to begin in Eindhoven within the next six months, with a U.S. release scheduled to take place sometime this year.

More information on FreeStreet is available in the video below.

Source: Philips via Dvice

21 comments
sunfly
I find the wires uglier than the poles. Bury the wires, just leave simple poles for the lighting.
Snake Oil Baron
I agree with sunfly. This might have some good uses but I hope it doesn't discourage the use of buried power cables. On the plus side, it does look like they've taken effort to direct the light downward unlike some which cause light pollution and waste power.
Gadgeteer
It might work well in places where utility poles are still used. But most American cities that haven't already completely eliminated above-ground utilties are slowly burying electric, fiber optic, cable TV and other lines despite the higher cost.
Mr Stiffy
Asthetics? Yes and no. Poles yes. Canterlevered Beam type light fittings hanging off the side of buildings - yes. More WIRES strung across streets.......... Tis nice to see trees and sky - the wires - Not so much.
Slowburn
Bury the wires and hang the lights from the trees, and buildings.
Eric Gipson
um so what holds the wires up? magic?
Jason Insertlaastnaamehere
"um so what holds the wires up? magic? comment Eric D Gipson - April 27, 2012 @ 11:14 pm PDT" Yes, you still need poles to hold up the wires, so this idea is incredibly stupid.
L1ma
Most places outside the western world have high tensile power cables/telecom cables strung along the streets therefore they could combine light and power from the same cable infrasructure, if they create a inductance powered led light that would clip onto existing power lines matters would be better still.
The Hoff
Spot on Eric! I don't want this in front of my house. I'd much prefer a slender pole, very skinny on top and the lights molded into the arc.
Peter Kowalchuk-Reid
This isn't all that original of a design, people have been using strings of lamps hung on wires as street lighting for two hundred years They were even used to hang people in the french revolution.