Smart Street Lighting based on vehicle movement detection on the LORAWAN network

Hi, I am Dilip. Me and my friend are planning to do this Real-world IoT project for a graded course in our university. It can be called Smart Street Light Controller based on vehicle movement detection on the LORAWAN network. Basically we aim to place two Arduino Vehicle movement detection kits (Arduino Nano + Proximity Sensor Shield + LoraWAN shield) on the beginning and end of a street. Whenever a vehicle crosses these sensors (i.e enters and exits a street), we want the Street Lights to Turn ON and Turn OFF as the vehicle enters and exits the street. Of course, we don’t have access to a real world street light as we don’t get permission from the city municipality office to control a real street light. But for proof of concept demonstration we plan on putting a sufficiently big, Indicator LED (Red Color) Kit (Arduino Nano + LED Kit + LoraWAN Shield) that can be controlled ON/OFF by the vehicle movement detection sensors from the LoRAWAN server/gateway. The Indicator LED needs to be preferably powered by the same power source (USB Battery Bank) that powers the Arduino or it can be self powered by means of AA batteries. The LED also needs to be sufficiently BIG and Bright, such that it should be visible if we happened to shoot it from a 10 meter distance on a iPhone Camera, so breadboard LEDs won’t work for our requirement.

The main aims of the project are:

  • Turn ON a Street Light (Indicator LED) when a vehicle ENTERs a street and Turn OFF the Light when the vehicle EXITs the street

  • Measure Vehicle Count (Movement of Vehicles per day) on the road for both the left lane and right lane

  • OPTIONALLY, we would like to implement a sound sensor that turns ON a street light for a few mins when it detects unusually high noise activity

We would like to purchase all the hardware for this project from you, but before that can you please clarify the following:

  • Which sensor ( UltraSound / IR / Laser or Sound MIC sensor) is best suited for this project?

  • Which is the best placement strategy for the sensor for measuring vehicle traffic? On top of a traffic light (facing down on the road) or on a street light or street sign pole on the side of the road?

  • How do we segregate vehicle count on the left and right lane of the road? Can this be achieved based on effective and strategic positioning of the vehicle movement detection sensor?

  • Which LED light (RED Color - Big, Bright, Low-Powered) can you recommend for our requirement?

We look forward for your clarifications so we can buy the right hardware and proceed in the right direction for realizing our project.

Best Regards, Dilip

What happens if the vehicle enters and parks? Are the lights going on and off not going to be very distracting for residents and pedestrians?

Use inductive-loop traffic detectors to count lane segregated traffic.

Hi, Welcome to the forum.

Please read the first post in any forum entitled how to use this forum.,148850.0.html then look down to item #7 about how to post your code. It will be formatted in a scrolling window that makes it easier to read.

How are you detecting direction of travel in and out of the street, or is it a one-way street?

Tom... :)

I suspect you may not appreciate what LoRaWAN and The Things Network (TTN) is designed for.

In particular your application needs to observe the fair use policy;

So if this is a proof of concept, it needs to be realistic, so you need to restrict the use of the LoRa to 30 seconds per day, can you do that ?

Hi everyone, Thanks for all your various inputs. Sorry for the delayed reply was busy with other course work in the uni.

@ardly - we will have to place the sensors in a 'strategic' spot where vehicles won't be parked in front of it. @TomGeorge - We aim to measure bi-directional traffic ultimately, but we will start with one lane. We are evaluating MaxBotix ultrasonic sensors currently @srnet - Thank you for the tip. We will see if LoraWAN is speedy enough to dim one LED based on vehicle entry/exit, else we will just collect traffic data and control the LED manually later on.

Do you have any idea how long it takes a street light to turn on? Check it out. How do you think the people living on the street will react to their street lights going on and off all night? How will the people who maintain the lights react to calls all night because the lights go on and off?


I was not writing about vehicles blocking the sensors, but about what happens if a vehicle enters the street and then does not leave perhaps for several days. You also need to consider vehicles entering the street and then doing a 'U' turn or even reversing out. It is also possible that vehicles will enter and exit the street on the wrong side of the road because or temporary obstructions.

Should be fairly easy even me as a super beginner should be able to make a light go on when something passes and ultrasonic sensor and off when it passes the next one.

Only thing we did not think about then is indeed what happens if the car passes the first sensor and parks, never passing the second sensor. That means light on and not off anymore.

Should be fixed easily, calculate how long a car should take from the first sensor to the second one, if it passes the first one and not the second one make the light go out.

for the sensors, cheap ultrasonic sensors dont have a very long range if i remember right. so you would need to put them pretty close along the road for the sound to bounce off the car. But what happens if a person walks by, the sensor will read that too.

Maybe some kind of pressure sensor that reads weight of a car passing by?

Instead of switching on and off, real world applications (along motorways) tend to dim the lights depending on traffic volume. That'd be also a lot more comfortable for residents next to the street in question.

Most street lights take quite some time (minutes) before they're fully on. For a light that's switched once a day and a bit before it's really needed that's fine, the low power use of such lights is more important. In your case, the car may have left the street before the light switches off.

For the parking car option, you better use a longer time out than the typical time needed to exit the street. You want to give the driver time to get out of the car and to their home before it's dark again.

Hi, Why wait for the car to leave to turn the light off.

Just have your code so that a trip of the sensor will turn the lights ON for a set time, then OFF. You don't need to trip it off, just timeout.

Tom... :)

Indeed. Timeout from the last triggering, as you don't want to switch off the lights if it's not the car leaving the street, but another car entering that triggers the second sensor.

If this is a "real world" project, perhaps it would be a good idea to also find out what arrangements the local councils have for the supply, installation and maintenance of street lighting with local supply authorities.

Might be an eye opener for you.