Smart Transport

Leighton Buzzard train station to harness energy from commuters’ footsteps

Leighton Buzzard train station is using a new technology to harness power from commuters’ footsteps by walking on "kinetic-floor tiles".

The new technology has been launched by Pavegen and Central Bedfordshire Council with funding by the Department of Transport’s (DfT) £22.9 million ADEPT SMART places Live Labs Programme.

The aim is to engage visitors, showcase the council’s green credentials and to power two USB charging benches, and a digital data screen.

The data screen will show commuters their contribution and can host important messages.

Using Leighton Buzzard as an initial platform, the project seeks to encourage other transport hubs to follow suit.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Projects such as Pavegen are so important as we look to level-up local areas across the UK and build back greener following the pandemic.

"Putting your foot to the floor in a car has always been a way of generating power. But now, with this fantastic piece of British technology, you can do it simply by walking along a stretch of pavement and in a green and clean way, too.”

Leighton Buzzard Train Station now has two Pavegen walkways both made up of its kinetic floor tiles.

Pavegen says it will use those walkways to engage with the 1.75 million strong community travelling to and from Leighton Buzzard.

Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire, says: “I like the fact these walkways engage people, involve exercise and it is creating clean electricity all the time.

“I think that connection between people and the energy being created through movement is a really good join up.”

Central Bedfordshire Council, which secured £1.05m for its Live Labs programme, has partnered with Ringway Jacobs, West Midlands Trains and technology provider Pavegen, to create the project.

The project is one of eight local authority led Live Labs aiming to transform local places and highways through piloting innovation across energy, data, materials and mobility.

Giles Perkins, Live Labs programme director, says: “The untapped footfall energy at our transport hubs represents a real opportunity to provide sustainable energy sources to power bespoke applications, while engaging audiences and encouraging behavioural change.

“This trial will help demonstrate the viability of the technology and could be a step change in the way transport hubs engage with commuters."

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