Leighton Buzzard train station in the UK county of Bedfordshire has installed two walkways made up of kinetic floor tiles that will use energy created from the weight of commuters’ footsteps to power two USB charging benches and a digital data screen.
Kinetic walkway developer Pavegen is working with Central Bedfordshire Council on the project, which aims to engage visitors, showcase the council’s green credentials and encourage other transport hubs to follow suit. The data screen will show commuters the contribution they are making as well as host other messages.
Smart Places project
The project has been funded by the Department of Transport through the £22.9 million Adept Smart Places Live Labs programme. It is one of eight local authority-led Live Labs aiming to transform local places and highways through piloting innovation across energy, data, materials and mobility. Adept represents local authority, county, unitary and metropolitan directors.
“The untapped footfall energy at our transport hubs represents a real opportunity to provide sustainable energy sources to power bespoke applications, while engaging audiences and encouraging behavioural change,” said Giles Perkins, Live Labs programme director. “This trial will help demonstrate the viability of the technology and could be a step change in the way transport hubs engage with commuters.”
UK start-up Pavegen will engage the 1.75 million community travelling to and from Leighton Buzzard, bringing messages to life and raising awareness for sustainability and the organisations dedication to it. Pavegen will be also working alongside Central Bedfordshire Council to demonstrate how digital engagement through the array can help the high street in these challenging times, using the reward scheme, through the supplementary Pavegen app.
Central Bedfordshire Council, which secured £1.05m for its Live Labs programme, has also partnered with highway service provider Ringway Jacobs and West Midlands Trains on the project.
“I like the fact that it engages people, involves exercise and it is creating clean electricity all the time,” said Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire. “I think that connection between people and the energy being created through movement is a really good join-up.”
Pavegen’s technology has been installed more 200 times across 37 different countries in areas of high footfall, with applications aimed at city development, infrastructure and destinations such as transport hubs, venues and stadiums.
“We are excited at the prospect of helping to drive a national roll-out to create a greener, more sustainable transport network for the UK,” said Laurence Kemball-Cook, CEO, Pavegen. “Pavegen engages and inspires communities while highlighting the benefits of sustainability in a memorable and interactive way.
“In addition, we have evolved our product to create a new and engaging mobile app platform to to create a way for transport hubs to reward their passengers for the footsteps they use. These rewards could be used to encourage footfall and get people back to retail, leisure or hospitality sections of the UK’s larger train stations. This is without losing sight of the purpose, using footsteps to create clean electricity for off-grid, bespoke solutions.”