Alternative Energy Scotland: Solar Energy Bus Shelters for Edinburgh
The Scotsman reports that in a new £20,000 initiative, solar-powered bus shelters that light up when a passenger arrives have gone on trial in the city.
The eco-friendly scheme promises to bring an end to the difficulty of trying to read bus timetables after dark.
It is also aimed at increasing both the security of passengers and making them more visible to bus drivers.
If the Executive-funded pilot project at ten shelters proves successful, the solar-powered equipment used could be installed at more than a thousand others elsewhere in Edinburgh.
City transport leader Andrew Burns today said: "If more people are to use bus services after dark it is essential that we increase the sense of security at bus shelters by making sure that as many bus shelters as possible have lighting. Unfortunately, the cost of providing lighting at all shelters has been extremely expensive due to the costs associated with establishing a power connection.
"A cost-effective alternative is the use of solar-powered lighting at a limited number of bus shelters."
The bus shelters are lit up using energy stored up from solar panels located on the roof. When the infrared sensor detects someone nearby, the light activates and remains on until shortly after the passenger has left the immediate area.
Of the city’s 1600 bus shelters, only the 500 owned and maintained by street advertising company Adshel in the city centre are equipped with lights - which are switched on at the same time as street lighting.
The other 1100, for which the local authority is responsible, do not have lights fitted because the cost is thought to be prohibitive. However, the new equipment is believed to be much cheaper to use in the long term because there are no electricity costs involved.
The equipment is also said to be vandal resistant as it is not obvious where the lighting box is located and there is no power supply to tamper with.
A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council today said: "Illuminating shelters helps to tackle the concerns people have about security, makes passengers more obvious to bus drivers and allows them to read timetable information after dark.
"The financial advantage of solar power is that there is no ongoing power cost. Currently, it can cost in excess of £700 to provide a ground power connection to a shelter.
"Solar powered lighting is a cost-effective solution to increasing passenger security and visibility at night compared to the costs associated with a traditional power connection."
The first solar-powered bus shelter in the UK went on trial in North Lanarkshire last year.
They have since been extensively deployed in cities including Leicester, Birmingham and Plymouth.
Neil Renilson, chief executive of Lothian Buses, added: "The good thing about this is that the lighting equipment is much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the conventional lighting that is used.
"It’s far simpler to use this kind of technology because it’s solar-power technology that is used so you don’t have to dig up the road and use existing power supplies."