A Great Tool For Boring Cities: Dial4Light

If you’re the cashier of a city where no-one ever walks on street by night (a so-called boring city), you can easily save money. Just turn off the street lights during night and let people pay for putting it back on. At the same time you help the earth to survive the era of the ‘homo wastes’.

Dial4Light is a pay-per-light system using a mobile phone. Some German cities, for example Lemgo, Dörentrup, Kalletal and Rahden, have already implemented this system. And believe it or not, inhabitants are positive. In the little village Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz (population: 900), one phone call turns on all the street lights at the same time. But in Dörentrup the system is already more complex. Here, the Dial4Light service is seperated by a database in different light zones and residents must therefore plan their routes ahead of time. The BBC explains how it works in Dörentrup.

“The Dörentrup system requires users to register, and to enter a 6-digit number to identify the area which they want lit. Users must know the number of the area where they want light–either by looking the numbers up in an on-line database, or finding the numbers posted on the nearby streetlamp, probably a difficult task given that the streetlamps are not yet lit.”

While most towns implemented a system where light turns on for the price of a single phone call, others have started charging for the energy. In the Dial4Light system in Rahden, for example, 60 minutes of light costs $4.65 (3.50 euros), and this business model is expected to spread among other towns and lighting systems.