Photo: Mikal Schlosser

Light on tomorrow’s city

Friday 11 Mar 16


Paul Michael Petersen
Professor, Section Leader
DTU Fotonik
+45 46 77 45 12


Dorthe Skovgaard Lund
Project Manager
+45 21 36 26 97

Lighting Metropolis

  • Lighting Metropolis is a collaboration between Region Skåne, the Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand, Lund University, DTU, the City of Malmö, the Municipality of Kalundborg, Roskilde Municipality, the Municipality of Albertslund, the City of Copenhagen, Frederikssund Municipality and Greater Copenhagen and Skåne Committee (prev. The Öresund Committee) as well as more than 20 Danish, Swedish, and international companies.

  • The project is headed by the public-private partnership, Gate 21, and the Municipality of Albertslund.

  • The project period is 2015-2018.

  • The project has a total budget of DKK 54 million. 

Watch a film about DOLL project.

In mid-December, the conclusion of the UN's International Year of Light 2015 was marked with a conference in the Black Diamond, the Royal Library in Copenhagen. Here, it was established that the importance of light goes far beyond the International Year of Light. We are facing a veritable revolution which will fundamentally change how we use electric light. The Lighting Metropolis project is an example of how the many new opportunities are to be explored and demonstrated. 

The LED technology has given new content to the concept of light. LED light is far more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, and can—unlike fluorescent tubes and energy-saving light bulbs—provide precisely the colour you want. The life of LED light sources are many times longer, and LED light can be controlled intelligently, so you save both energy and ensure that the light is optimal in relation to the situation.

You can also use the light to create the desired atmosphere and evoke emotions. It can even cure and also improve the quality of life in many different ways. The Lighting Metropolis project will show all these opportunities in practice and convert the Øresund region to one of the world’s leading live laboratories for smart light.

Right light at the right time 

These years, many municipalities in Denmark are replacing the old street lamps with LED lamps, and that in itself will result in huge savings on the energy budget. But which type of LED should you choose and how should it be placed to ensure sufficient light? Part of DTU's contribution to Lighting Metropolis will be to advise the Øresund region municipalities on these questions.

DTU Fotonik has devoted many years to building up solid knowledge of LED light.

In the DOLL Quality Lab at DTU Risø Campus, the lamps are measured on all kinds of parameters; light distribution, power, colour dispersion, strength, and impact on the human eye. All the measurements can be transferred to a computer model, giving—so to speak—a virtual prototype of the light source. Using 3D glasses, you can go for a walk in the light of the street lamps and ‘with your own eyes’ experience whether the light is blinding, whether it has a pleasant colour, etc.

And not only do you have to choose the right light, but also consider how to use it. On roads not so heavily trafficked during the hours of darkness, a lot of energy can be saved, if the light is turned down to, for example, 30 per cent when there is no traffic. Lamp posts equipped with sensors detect when a road user is approaching, and then the light is automatically turned up to full strength. It offers the individual road user a better light than if the light is kept at half strength all the time in order to save energy.

Intelligent lamp posts 

Lamp posts with built-in computers can also be used to gather information about the number of road users passing by and at what times. They can register whether the parking space they are illuminating is free, the level of air pollution around them, and so on. And when they connect to the Internet, all the information will be passed on to road users by means of apps.

DTU is carrying out real-life testing of all these options in collaboration with the participating municipalities, and on DTU Intelligent Avenue in Lyngby, where researchers and students can develop and test new ideas for how light and intelligent lamp posts can make the city smart. (Read more about DTU Smart Avenue in ‘On the way to intelligent traffic control'. 

The project is still in the initial phase, but the list of demonstration projects range from the above-mentioned activities at DTU and in the DOLL laboratories that drive the development of tomorrow’s LED lighting, to various experiments in relation to the importance of light to citizens in the streets. These tests are carried out on both sides of the Øresund belt, which separates Denmark and Sweden. In Lund Municipality in Southern Sweden, they experiment, for example, with biological light and how the light in a classroom can support learning of pupils with special needs.