Next time you find yourself waiting at a bus stop in Santiago by night, look up and chances are you’ll likely find that your stop’s lights are being powered by solar energy.
Santiago’s bus system Transantiago currently enjoys 1,300 solar LED lit bus stop shelters – and the city plans to install 1,200 more. Today, more than 200,000 commuters can expect their journey to be illuminated by solar LED lighting.
According to El Mercurio, the new project is a result of an opinion poll executed late last year. It found that Transantiago riders were requesting three essential attributes for every bus stop shelter in the city: night lighting, roof coverage, and security.
Now, seven months and 1,300 solar LED light installations later, passengers are expressing a newfound love for their Transantiago bus stops. A survey conducted by Transantiago and the World Bank showed that passengers that frequented stops with the solar LED light systems indicated a more positive perception of their bus service.
This enthusiasm, coupled with energy saving incentives for Santiago municipalities on smaller budgets, has led the Ministry of Transportation to allocate an extra US$4,551,206 (CLP2,160,000,000) for the installation of 1,200 new solar LED lighting kits in the future.
When asked about the project, Transportation Minister Pedro Pablo Errázuriz responded enthusiastically, according to El Mercurio.
“We are improving the quality of service in all aspects,” Errázuriz said. “The travel experience of people on public transport begins when they leave home, and continues when they come to the bus stops. That’s where it is important to initiate investments that promote greater safety for our users.”
LED solar technology is based on a system of deep cycle batteries that accumulate energy captured during daylight hours. This, coupled with the low unit cost of installation, means each lighting project costs about US$3,792 (CL$1,800.000), allowing municipalities to generate significant energy savings.