Kinetic Light-up Crosswalks: Phase 1

Project Size: Large, >$1,000
Estimated Amount to be requested from the CSF: $100,000

Letter of Intent:

Imagine you are a student, it’s a dark and damp rainy Seattle night... you are tired from studying all week and are hurrying to get home. You step out into an ordinary crosswalk at the corner of a sharp bend in the road. A car swerves to avoid you, as you are nearly invisible in the darkness. This story and many like it show the importance and necessity of safer crosswalks. Our project idea stems from this need and desire to make commuting by foot, bike, bus, or car as safe as possible.

 

OVERVIEW

This project draws on interdisciplinary expertise and creativity in developing luminaire crosswalk pavers powered by kinetic energy to sustainably and innovatively improve safety at the University of Washington (UW) Seattle Campus. Ultimately, we want to implement the highest performing prototype to the most dangerous crosswalks on campus to keep students safe. Addressing the UW’s Campus Landscape Framework objective of creating connections across the “mosaic” of the Central Campus, this prototype will improve circulation through an iconic landscape, create a unique experience, increase safety, and create opportunities for collaboration between students and industry partners. The primary project team includes masters and doctorate students from the College of Built Environments and College of Engineering (throughout the phasing process, more team members will be added, including undergraduates).

Optimization of infrastructure is a traditionally complicated endeavor. Collection, transmission, and distribution are common obstacles to utilization of revolutionary renewable energy. By directly integrating energy collection into the object it powers, these obstacles are overcome and the system is much more efficient and accessible to consumers. Microgenerators harnessing kinetic energy are in development and could be used to power paver luminaires, improving safety and visibility without depending on the power grid. Additionally, the implementation of this project would create an opportunity to improve stormwater management at intersections throughout campus. (Future phasing of prototypes might integrate stormwater detention mechanisms that can manage runoff and improve water quality in surrounding bodies of water).

 

SUSTAINABLE IMPACT

Environmental

Our prototypes promote renewable and alternative energy by creating an off-the-grid kinetic energy mechanism that runs the LED pressurized systems during the low-light to dark hours of the day.

Socio-economic

Thinking long-term, we are hoping to create a prototype that will be marketed to all of the UW campuses and the city of Seattle, particularly in marginalized communities.

Cultural

A culture of road safety for all modalities should be created. Pedestrians are as entitled to safety mechanisms as drivers or bicyclists.

 

STUDENT LEADERSHIP AND INVOLVEMENT

We are advocating for student involvement at every point and every level of the project. It is a student run team that is designing for students. We are inclusive, always willing to include other disciplines and expertise. We are proposing a phased strategy that will provide students the opportunity to engage in project development, business planning, and product fabrication.

 

EDUCATION, OUTREACH, AND BEHAVIOR CHANGE

Behavior change: Providing luminous circulation and connection throughout the UW campus, regardless of weather conditions or damage to the grid, will likely help pedestrians feel more secure and independent, while cyclists and drivers will be alerted to movement around them.

Outreach: This project will provide the student team first-hand experience in product development, fabrication, and implementation. It will support the efforts of the university to improve the campus’ experiential qualities; update, control, and maintain campus lighting; and ensuring that campus users feel safe. As these concerns are currently addressed separately by the Campus Architect, Operations, and Police Department, a consolidated and self-sustaining response would aid in honing their work.

Education: Students will be exposed to unprecedented sustainable technology applications and the learning opportunities that come with its operation. Additionally, the larger UW community will act as a testing ground for revolutionary infrastructure. The system will need to be inspected and maintained, this too will provide data collection and technology optimization opportunities. This project also builds on the Campus Illumination Roadmap previously supported by Campus Sustainability Fund, and could be included in their research.

 

FEASIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

The project team would engage with the Office of the University Architect, the Campus Engineering and Operations Office, and UW Faculty from the College of Built Environments. There is also potential for engagement with Seattle City Light.

Funding would be invested in developing prototypes of our product. The project team would fabricate as many components as possible, but may need to reach out to local manufacturers of structural glazing systems.

 

ESTIMATED BUDGET

The implementation of this project includes building and testing multiple physical prototypes which we estimate to be $100,000. The budget components are detailed below:

  • Electrical/Computer/Controlling backbone components: $10,000
  • Mechanical/Chemical hardware infrastructure: $50,000
  • Lab/test instruments: $10,000
  • Structural glazing and frame system: $30,000

 

PROJECT TIMELINE

Our phase one of the project is planned to be carried out and completed in one year.
Within this year there are three phases:

1- Technical studies: Currently underway. We will continue this phase until final project approval and if need be, into the prototyping phase to ensure the highest levels of performance in the prototyping.

2- Prototyping/Testing/Troubleshooting: This phase is planned to be initiated upon the approval of the proposal and the fulfillment of necessary financial supply. This phase is expected to be completed within six months from the start, with all the prototypes tested and evaluated under real operation conditions, and the highest performing one selected for campus implementation

3- Implementation: This phase will likely pursue a later funding cycle due to the complexities of construction and implementation. During this phase, we hope to work with UW Facilities and Seattle Offices.

 

TEAM

Janie Bube (Master of Landscape Architecture)

Emilia Cabeza de Baca (Master of Architecture)

Martha Hart (Masters of Urban Planning)

Arman Rahimzamani (PhD in Electrical Engineering)

 

Primary Contact First & Last Name: Janie Bube