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Street Lamps and Traffic Lights Monitoring System

Seberang Perai

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  • Fast Facts

    City :


    Annual Potential Savings


    Year Implemented



    Region : Asia

    National GDP Per Capita (USD) : 10,703 (IMF, 2018)

    City Population: 906,077

    Year Implemented : 2016

    National Gini Index : 46.3 (World Bank, 2009)


    Technologies Utilized : web/mobile control system, smart controller, LED lamps

    Funding Source : TBD

    Project Cost : $4,807,745 (if fully implemented)

    Project Savings : $1,070,210 annually (if fully implemented) and break-even in 5 years

    Planned Project Duration : Indefinite

    KPIs : electricity cost saving, facility management cost saving, reduced repair delays

  • Project Context and Overview

    Seberang Perai, a growing city of nearly one million citizens, faces many challenges related to its rapid growth and development, including stress upon traffic and utilities infrastructure. As such, pursuant to the Malaysia Vision 2020 national development plan, the city government (MPSP) has targeted Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics as opportunities to improve traffic and utilities in the city. Impressed by this vision and the quality of its application, WeGO selected the city’s plan for utilizing ICT in street and traffic lamps for its 2016 Feasibility Study Program. The two MPSP departments directly involved with the project are the Engineering Department and the IT Department.

    WeGO has provided its annual Feasibility Study to member cities and local governments since 2010. This technical assistance program is designed to help members assess their current smart city development status and draw realistic and concrete smart city & e-Government strategies. Each year, a call for proposals is released to WeGO members and applications are received and evaluated by a panel of experts based upon both the quality of application and the city’s demonstration of commitment to smart city development.

    In order to assess the citywide feasibility of such a project, and to implement a smaller-scale pilot, WeGO teamed up with two companies from the Korean private sector: IGB Consulting and Gabotech Ltd. IGB provided technical consultation and Gabotech provided their smart lighting solutions which included installation of the pilot project. Two local Malaysian wireless carriers with capabilities to provide the versatility of both GSM and CDMA bandwidths, Celcom and Maxis, were chosen to transmit data from the IoT sensors to be deployed. Tenaga Nasional Berhad is the biggest and only utility company in Malaysia, and consequently, Seberang Perai buys its electricity through them. This company also manages the city’s existing 42,856 concrete light poles.

  • Project Planning and Implementation

    For the implementation of the pilot project, four major components were utilized: a web control system with mobile applications, a smart controller installed in a gateway to connect to the street/traffic lights, sub-controllers installed on each lamp post, and the LED lamps themselves. Additionally, the LED lamps were mounted on galvanized steel poles, a departure from the norm in Seberang Perai which utilizes concrete poles typically.

    The smart controller installed inside of the distribution box is used as a gateway to communicate with the control center wirelessly over 3G and 4G LTE. The galvanized steel lamp post itself contains automatic dimming functions and self-monitors and reports failures. A mobile web control system, to be managed by the MPSP IT Department, links to Google Maps, and can be used to monitor and control the lights remotely.

    The project was completed in five phases. The project initiation included preparations such as the formation of a working group, research, and an on-site kickoff meeting. An on-site inspection was conducted in order to analyze the status, and this included environment research and surveys of the local ICT state as well as interviews with relevant local officials. A second on-site inspection was conducted as well as further discussion with local officials and the establishment of a trial service model. Benchmarking against domestic and international systems was also conducted. The fourth stage was a feasibility analysis which included the following: budget/action plan establishment, economic and technical feasibility studies, and the completion of a final report. In the final phase, project completion, a local workshop was hosted by Seberang Perai complete with the demonstration of the pilot system on the five operational smart LED lights.

  • Project Results

    Overall, the project proved feasible from a technical basis. A full scale implementation has yet to be executed, but the economic and social benefits, based upon thoroughly researched benchmarking estimates, could prove immense benefits.

    If implemented on the scale proposed, the project would fully cost $4,807,745. However, with an annual savings of $1,070,210 the project would break even within five years. Sources of these savings stem from reduced consumption of resources, both human and electricity. By transitioning from sodium bulbs to LED, electricity consumption would be reduced 35%. Additionally, sodium bulbs cost $4 per bulb and experience far shorter lifespans than LED lights. The mobile control system, which alerts the city when technical problems arise, would reduce patrols to one time per week, and alleviate human resources spent on this by 60-70%. Synergized with the complaint handling system of the city, response times to outages and other technical issues would be reduced to 24 hours from 80 hours on average. As the lights dim and brighten on a more intelligent schedule, light pollution in times when lighting is less necessary can be reduced. On a less tangible basis, this should also increase citizen satisfaction.

  • Recommendations for Transfer

    The pilot project provides a basis by which other cities might implement similar systems. Factors which made Seberang Perai an attractive recipient for the Feasibility Study, can also be considered qualities which indicate strong potential for success in other cities hoping to implement a smart street lamp and traffic light monitoring system.

    Seberang Perai is not approaching smart lighting as a silo but rather, as a part of its larger, holistic vision. The city already had two citizen complaint management systems in place and emphasized in their application that they wished for these to be a key feature of the lighting system, so that malfunctions could be dealt with in a more timely manner. The usage of IoT was not considered solely for the purpose of data analytics, but on a more immediate level, the city recognized the value of mobile monitoring to reduce patrols and save human resources.

    In other city cases benchmarked by the study, the purpose and exact scope and nature of the streetlight projects varied, but each fit holistically into that city’s vision for their Smart City. Seoul (Korea) and Barcelona (Spain) deployed massive, citywide smart lights which also incorporated IoT sensors to feed their Big Data and AI analytic projects. US cities such as Los Angeles and Kansas City also follow similar models. Many cities even mount Wi-Fi for public use to these light poles. Gwangju (Korea) focused very specifically on public safety, particularly for female residents while Jakarta (Indonesia) focused very heavily on reduction of electricity usage. While the city is still in the process of planning full implementation, cases of large-scale implementation have already occurred in these cities and they have reaped many benefits from such programs.

  • Figures and Images

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