In a move that will save around 7,700 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, Urban Control, in partnership with DW Windsor, has been appointed to deliver a ‘smart city’ capable upgrade to Surrey County Council’s streetlights – reducing energy consumption and providing a futureproofed network for longer term innovations.

Over the course of three years the project, which is being managed by the council’s street light contractor Skanska, will see around 89,000 streetlamps replaced or retrofitted with energy efficient LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes), delivering expected energy savings of around 60 per cent. Crucially, Urban Control has been appointed to upgrade the existing CMS (Central Management System) to offer an intelligent solution that has the capacity to grow and adapt to the Council’s ongoing needs.

With an increasingly urbanised population and more than 80 per cent of global GDP generated in cities, there is a growing demand for data-driven solutions that can address key urban challenges. As a smart city solutions provider, Urban Control can support Local Authorities and their Contractors by delivering the technology, software and data to connect the dots across their city’s infrastructure, helping to reduce wastage and identify savings.

With the sensor-ready lighting and upgraded CMS installed, Surrey County Council will have access to data that enables them to better manage the county’s lighting in terms of safety, energy use and maintenance – as well as enabling potential efficiencies across a host of other areas, including traffic control, air quality, environmental monitoring and flood management. What’s more, the system is scalable and can be readily adapted to other applications as future needs require.

Speaking about the project, Simon Woodford, Business Director at Skanska, commented: “The biggest challenge in completing a project such as this is the successful commissioning of the new CMS, whilst simultaneously decommissioning the old system. This particularly can present challenges in monthly energy settlement.”



To mitigate this problem, Skanska in conjunction with Urban Control has carefully aligned the delivery programme with the decommissioning of the old CMS, which is being taken offline on a ward-by-ward basis. This means that there is no gap in the availability of lighting controls and the energy-saving profile of the project is protected throughout. Further savings have also been achieved by reusing some of the existing hardware, and Urban Control has worked closely with sister company, DW Windsor, to develop a solution that enables maximum efficiency across the council’s assets already in-situ.



“As the Surrey PFI is only 10 years old, it meant that there were in the region of 60,000 lanterns within the network that were perfectly serviceable,” Simon continued. “DW Windsor developed an LED gear tray, which allowed a retro-fit solution to upgrade the existing luminaire carcasses, providing a greener solution to Surrey County Council, whilst also delivering tangible cost savings.”

In addition to developing the modified gear tray, the LED luminaire specification was upgraded to include DW Windsor’s Kirium Eco throughout the project, providing a joined-up service from the two sister companies. Specifically optimised for residential applications, the Kirium Eco offers even better energy performance than the previously specified product, allowing Skanska to pass the additional energy savings on to Surrey County Council.


“Moving this project into a position of delivery has taken many months due to the complex agreements associated with PFI. However, both teams have worked collaboratively, resolving any issues and are now delivering a world-class project across a large county. This will benefit all residents as we move forward, achieving new innovations and a smarter more environmentally friendly contract,” concluded Simon Woodford.

At the end of the three-year deployment period, Urban Control will move to the 15-year service phase of the contract. For many Local Authorities, it is this aspect of the supply model that makes smart city technologies more attainable. By providing the network and software upgrade as a service, Urban Control retains ownership of the technology itself – meaning the council will benefit from ongoing innovations without having to make significant reinvestments in the future.

“At Urban Control, we’re not just selling ‘products’ in the traditional sense, instead, we offer value as a service. It’s an outcome-based solution, whether the desired result is energy savings, environmental management or better traffic monitoring. We provide the data to build a business case for civic and planning decisions – and the application potential is unlimited.” Rob Lumley, Chief Operations Officer, Urban Control

“The art is in joining the dots between seemingly unconnected data sets and drawing new insights from the information. For example, a council could use the data to gather the evidence required to pedestrianise an area or to install traffic calming measures.”


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The challenge

Performance and safety (including the movement of people) at train stations is a key concern in rail transport today; especially with the increasing number of passengers, and often out-dated station spaces.

The Rail Technology Strategy believes that improving capacity and enhancing customer experience will increase passenger flow in stations. Which has the potential to deliver benefits of over £258m.

A consortium consisting of Urban Control, DW Windsor, the DfT, InnovateUK, FirstGroup, The University of Nottingham and the RSSB, embarked on a study to address these concerns.

Key project requirements

  • Create intelligent stations that respond to the needs of customers, using dynamic lighting
  • Use light to get people on and off trains and through the station quickly and safely
  • Find an alternative to existing wayfinding solutions; de-cluttering stations of outdated signage/zoning systems
  • Modernise the rail industry through the use of current trends i.e. experience lighting: that’s flexible, controllable, responsive and intuitive
  • The system must be instinctive and engaging

The solution

Traditionally, printed signage has been used to help commuter flow, but signs need to be cognitively processed, which can take a few more precious seconds. Light on the other hand is more intuitive and quicker to process.

It is proven that lighting can influence behaviour, speed and the movement of people. Many stations are already upgrading their functional lighting to LED to save energy, but LED lighting, with intelligent control functionality, can create further reach.

Proof of concept

The University of Nottingham’s Human Factors team and Geospatial Institute led a research study to identify the typical movement-related issues a station faces. They then conducted an extensive review of lighting research literature, particularly, reported effects of lighting upon behaviour/mood. Which led to the identification of clear opportunities for using light to influence movement behaviours.

As a result, the FirstGroup agreed for a proof of concept trial site, at Chippenham Station. A project funded by the Department for Transport and delivered through a competition run by InnovateUK: Accelerating Innovation in Rail 4 (AIR4).

Led by our sister company DW Windsor, Urban Control developed new wireless, connected lights and sensors that are controlled through cloud-based software.

The Projects:


Aim: to reduce delay time and improve customer experience and safety; providing intuitive information to customers on where to stand to board the train and improve the flow of passengers off the trains and on the platform.

We used Gobo projected lighting on the platform to indicate to passengers where to stand in alignment with a carriage door; allowing a freer flow of passengers disembarking.

The result

Initial results were extremely positive.

People did notice the lights (i.e. looked up ‐ looked back, looked up ‐looked along) and a small proportion of people used the lights to stand in the correct place. There were several types of interactions with the lights.

Responses were categorised into 5 major response types:

  1. Passengers positioned in an area from which it would be difficult to see the light and/or they are turned away from the lights.
  2. The passenger is positioned in an area in which it would be easy to see the lights, but for whatever reason e.g. on the phone, they do not notice the lights.
  3. The passenger notices the lights and may look up into the canopy, onto the projection or along with the platform, but takes no further action in response to the light.
  4. Passengers notice the light and interact with it by looking/moving either a body part (e.g. foot) or whole body into and/or out of the projection.
  5. Participants are positioned away from the lighting but once activated, appears to move closer/into the light after the light.

Handrail, stairway lighting

Aim: to encourage efficient bi-directional passenger flows, improve space allocation and regulate walking speeds. To reduce disruption and injuries caused by congestion on stairways

DW Windsor installed pulsing handrail lighting to indicate direction and pace on the stairway. Coloured LED lights were placed at the top of the staircase to align people descending.

The result

Survey responses indicated that passengers understood the purpose of the lighting.

It was found that the lights were more visible during darkness or partial light – ideal for high commuter times, but the movement effect was strongest around dawn. Passengers were affected and acted accordingly with the lights when noticing the lights.

In conclusion, the lights were noticeable and functioned as intended. People responded to the lights and some understood the intended reaction; others thought they were to inspire use of the handrail, which encouraged safer usage and movement. Staff found the lights useful as a device to back up their suggestions on how to use the stairway.


“This has been a very exciting project to be involved in. Innovative initiatives of this nature can open the door to a world of possibilities and are setting the standard for future customer experiences” Stuart Parker, FirstGroup, Property Director


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Glasgow is integrating multiple city services on a common platform, and gathering new data to help empower its citizens to improve the city.

The challenge for Glasgow

Objectives include reducing energy costs, increasing road safety and promoting cycling to help drive health benefits. In order to achieve those objectives there are some key best-practices that should be adopted:

Promote open data

Social media connects city leaders to its citizens more than ever. Many cities are looking to share data sets from across the city with individuals, businesses and research facilities to help improve quality of life and foster innovation.

Encourage developers

It is hard to predict what the ‘killer apps’ of the smart city will be. Cities’ success will require building an ecosystem of developers leveraging open standards and nurturing their ability to innovate.

Use one network canopy for several applications

Bringing data from many devices onto a common platform enables new approaches in distributed intelligence and real time analytics.

The solution

Open data platform – bringing together a growing collection of data streams from more than 60 different organisations into a central data warehouse. We are streaming lighting, traffic, noise and air quality data to the city’s Open Data platform. Developers can use this data to build new solutions to address city challenges.

Adaptive lighting – while monitoring vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, the street lights are programmed to automatically brighten and dim, depending on ambient light levels, as well as how many people are in a given area.

Standards-based ipv6 network – increasing ROI with multiple applications, including smart street lights and traffic control, on the same network.


Bristol is building a platform for the development of Smart City applications that will promote innovation and deliver a better quality of life. It is partnering with Bristol University to promote Bristol Is Open (BIO) — an effort to deploy and trial a citywide Smart City network. BIO is encouraging local entrepreneurs to connect new sensors and devices to a common network, and to prepare for commercialisation globally.

The challenge for Bristol

To champion the breakdown of council silos.

City departments responsible for services such as lighting, traffic or transportation are often siloed with no mechanism for cross-department collaboration. Creating a shared network infrastructure enables these groups to leverage resources to increase efficiency, reduce cost and provide better services.

To demonstrate benefits.

Connect existing city assets such as street lights, distributed sensors and other critical infrastructure to rapidly demonstrate the economic and energy benefits of intelligent street lighting. Once this is achieved, the existing network can be extended to other city services.

To empower local businesses.

Create an environment that promotes and enables innovation so local businesses can become leaders in Smart City technology, improve city services, build a green economy and create jobs.

The Smart City solution

Multi-application ipv6-based network – leveraging the same network canopy provided by our partner Silver Spring Networks, for applications such as parking meters, traffic light and congestion sensors, safety cameras, air quality sensors, weather sensors, public transportation sensors, remote personal healthcare monitors and acoustic detection.

Environmental sensors – gathering and accessing data from sensors across the city to enable the development of Internet of Everything productivity services for citizens.

Innovation catalyst – enabling entrepreneurs and academic institutions to leverage sensor data and insights for prototype new smart city applications and services.