Tartu: LED Lights with smart Controllers


Main sector:

  • Smart street lighting


The smart street light control system developed by Cityntel OU is based on a wireless mesh technology. Smart controllers, capable of network and device-related decision-making, are installed in each of the new 312 LED street lights in Tartu and rely on wireless communication for exchanging information between the controllers and sensors. Unlike competing solutions, where all control commands are issued from a server or network controller, this smart control solution requires no permanent server connectivity as operational rules are stored directly in the luminaire controller. The aim is to bring intelligence and data processing to the device level and build networks of locally collaborating self-aware devices – sensors and luminaire controllers – which take into account local weather and traffic conditions and adjust street lights without any central server data processing.

The street light network of the demo area are supplied with the following sensors and detectors:

  • PIR movement detector – capable of detecting people and vehicles and computing the overall human presence and traffic flow level;
  • Movement detector with cameras – detects people and vehicles using picture analytics and is capable of differentiating between vehicle types (passenger cars, buses, trucks etc.);
  • Light reflection sensor – measures the rate of reflected light from road surface for analysing road conditions (dry, wet, snowy etc.);
  • Noise sensor – capable of detecting noise level and source (human speech, traffic etc.); 
  • Environmental sensor – measures pollution (CO2, NOx), air temperature, humidity etc

All in all, the smart controller system is expected to result in up to 80% energy savings when combined with LED luminaires, up to 70% savings from maintenance costs, significantly lower carbon emissions, much less light pollution and longer luminaire lifetime.

Outcome/Successful implementation:

The installation of luminaires was completed in Tartu pilot area in December 2017. Sensors were installed  in the second part of 2018 and the intelligent control system is in continuous development.

322 streetlight controllers were produced and installed in Tartu for this project. Controllers were produced by the project partner Cityntel OÜ and installed into luminaires by the luminaire producer (Vizulo). Necessary software developments were mostly made by Cityntel employees. The controllers communicate with each other in a flat self-configurable mesh network. According to the rules saved in each controller, they can dim the streetlight and switch it on and off. Rules can be based on the specific time, sunset and sunrise time and data from sensors.

Smart lighting has already provided significant energy savings in the first two years. With further development of the management system, savings are likely to increase even further. Considering the rapid development of LED technology in the last decade, it can be quite certain that in the future it will be possible to achieve greater energy savings under the same prerequisites than in the present project.

New LED street lights in Lighhouse City Tartu.

Business model:

The LED lamps (altogether 312) were obtained and installed through a public procurement by the City of Tartu. The smart controllers, sensors, detectors and related software and devices which were added to the LED lamps were further developed and provided by Cityntel OU, an SME offering smart street light systems. After the installation, the system is maintained by the City.

Citizen engagement:

The smart street light system is integrated within the City Information Open Platform (CIOP) that is developed during the course of the SEC project (see more under ICT solutions). The smart street lights send data from luminaires (energy consumption) and sensors to the CIOP for monitoring and analysis purposes. Weather and traffic information that the smart street lights have collected will then be demonstrated in the pilot apartments through the smart home system (see more under ICT solutions).  The citizens are also be involved through the CIOP in form of a poll that explores the outdoor lighting comfort level. Based on the feedback received from the residents, the brightness level of the street lights can be adjusted.



  • Easy adoption by both luminaire manufacturers and end users
  • No need for engineering personnel for deployment and maintenance
  • Dynamic control of luminaires based on real-time local information
  • High reliability and accurate power consumption measurements
  • Future proof (i.e. easy to add other devices providing smart city services to the same network)
  • Increased resource and energy efficiency
  • Smaller carbon footprint and light pollution
  • More efficient delivery of city services
  • Increased comfort and better living environment 
  • Better (evidence-based) planning (e.g. traffic)



Ca. 400,000 €

Potential for replication:

The smart street light solution implemented in Tartu is simple and can be deployed quickly even on a large scale. The solution enables municipalities to start saving right from the moment of introducing the solution without having to worry about the payback period. Furthermore, as savings are instant, it will also reduce the payback period of the LED luminaire. The successful installation of the solution can also enable other smart city innovations based on the same technology and principles, such as smart parking, smart traffic management and smart waste management.

Facts & Figures:

Tartu has installed 320 LED street lights with the following results.

Picture source: Cityntel