London Now Has The World’s First Smart Street

Jul 17, 2017 at 11:10 AM ET

A London shopping street has become the latest and most interactive experiment in electricity-generating walkways.

Bird Street is the world’s first “smart street,” equipped with tiles that convert the footsteps into electricity. The small shopping street just off Oxford Circus is lined with these tiles, allowing pedestrians to step up and start generating electricity. Each step helps power the light fixtures along Bird Street, as well as Airlabs filters that clean the polluted city air.

The smart street was installed by tech company Pavegen, which also has smaller instillations in Washington, D.C., and Rio de Janeiro.

What is perhaps most appealing about Pavegen tiles is that they can be integrated into everyday urban life. City authorities could potentially be more willing to work with this kind of innovation because it offers an environmental solution that doesn’t disrupt the city’s existing infrastructure.