Wallonia will proudly boast Europe’s first connected highways, capable of feats such as adapting their lighting to the density of the traffic, in three and a half years.
This highway of tomorrow is one of the objectives of the ‘Plan Lumières 4.0.’ presented on Friday in the municipality of Fleurus, in the Hainaut province. Developed by the LUWA Consortium, the plan aims to renovate the entire public lighting equipment on the road network in the south of Belgium.
Under the plan, around 110,000 sodium lights will be gradually replaced by LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient and lasts much longer.
This change, alongside a system to vary the intensity of the lighting as needed, could save up to 76% of the energy normally used. The upgrade would also avoid the release of about 166,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and reduce light pollution.
The modernised lights will be equipped with various types of smart tech, enabling them to modulate the intensity of their brightness depending on traffic, as well as distance management via the new Perex traffic-monitoring centre located at Daussoulx.
Roadside units with Bluetooth traffic receivers and Vehicle to Everything (V2X) technology will also be deployed on all highways and interchanges.
“Walloon highways will thus become the first connected highways in Europe, ready to welcome the first autonomous vehicles,” said LUWA Director General Bertrand Vanden Abeele. The entire project is expected to cost about €600 million over 20 years.