EALING is to become the first London borough to see the introduction of solar-lit bus stops, in a move which will give the capital the biggest network of solar stops in the world.
Solar technology that can light bus stops even through the British winter will soon start in Ealing, Harrow and Hounslow at the end of October, and installation will continue at a rate of 1,400 solar-lit stops each year for the next five years across London.
The bus stops have been designed specially for London and are proven to work even in the gloomiest weather conditions.
Ivan Bennett, Research and Development Manager, Transport for London said: “It’s immensely satisfying to get leading-edge technology to work in such challenging real-life conditions. When we started looking at solar batteries that could cope with the British winter, they tended to be the size of a filing cabinet. We’ve now got a unit that can sit on top of an ordinary British bus stop and provide light all year round.”
Ordinary bus stops have no lights at all, but the solar stops light up automatically at dusk, which trials showed helped to make passengers feel safer while they waited for their bus.
White light from LEDs also provides downlighting for waiting passengers and timetables which light up at the press of a button.
Mr Bennett said: “This is one of those projects that works well on so many levels. It’s an environmentally-friendly improvement which is relatively cheap to build, costs no extra to run, and will make a big difference to passengers.”
The five year project will cost £7.9m. Since London first ran the trials in 2002 -2005, the US and Canada have followed suit.