Pavegen Helps London Create Its First ‘Smart Street’

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. flooring / ˈflɔr ɪŋ / (n) – materials used to build floors

    The flooring of the old mansion was mahogany.

  2. installation / ˌɪn stəˈleɪ ʃən / (n) – something that is put together (e.g. a machine, equipment, etc.)

    The electricians set up new light installations in the dark street.

  3. underutilized / ˌʌn dərˈyut lˌaɪzd / (adj) – not used to its full potential

    The company sold its underutilized offices.

  4. sustainable / səˈsteɪ nə bəl / (adj) – can be maintained without using up natural resources

    Scientists are looking for sustainable energy sources.

  5. pedestrian / pəˈdɛs tri ən / (n) – people who walk on a city’s streets, roads, etc.

    Hundreds of pedestrians cross the main road every morning.


Read the text below.

Pavegen [PEYV-jen], a company that specializes in energy-harvesting flooring, has just brought London’s first “smart street” to life.

Since it was founded in 2009, Pavegen has already turned over 150 locations around the world into energy-harvesting sites. Among its projects is an electricity-generating soccer field in Lagos, Nigeria.

Now, Pavegen has added Bird Street to its growing list of installations. Along with other innovators of eco-friendly technologies, Pavegen has transformed the once underutilized street in the West End of London into a high-tech but sustainable shopping area.

To turn it into a smart street, Pavegen installed a 108-square feet tiled path along Bird Street. The company used specialized tiles that can generate an average of five watts for every step that pedestrians take. Electricity generated from the tiles powers bird sounds that play at daytime and light displays at night. The tiles also power low-energy Bluetooth transmitters that interact with pedestrians’ smartphones through an app. The transmitters tell pedestrians how many steps they have taken and how much energy they have generated.

In addition to the high-tech tiled flooring, Bird Street also features CleanAir Bench from the technological company Airlabs. This bench draws in polluted air through several fans to filter it. CleanAir can remove 95% of pollutants from the air, and purified air is released through the sides and armrests of the bench. Aside from this bench, Bird Street also has small shops covered with a special paint by Airlite. This paint can also purify the air.

The Bird Street project was spearheaded by the Transport for London and the New West End Company. It is aligned with Mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision to turn the English capital into a “smart city.”

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that it’s possible to turn majority of the world’s streets into smart streets? Why or why not?
• Which streets or places in your country should have the technologies mentioned in the article? Why?

Discussion B

• In your opinion, is it truly possible to use advanced technology without harming the environment? Discuss.
• Where would you rather live in, a technologically advanced city or an eco-friendly city? Why?