Light it up: smart lighting project to improve public safety in Leopold
SMART lighting will be installed at several Leopold bus stops and sections of the Bellarine Rail Trail as part of a $250,000 state government initiative to boost public safety and combat anti-social behaviour in the area.
The Leopold Proactive Pilot Project will see between 10 and 15 smart lights installed at bus stops and shelters, as well as at key access points and along the trail to create safer public access between Melaluka and Christies roads.
The mix of electric and solar-powered lighting will feature wi-fi to improve internet connectivity in the area and allow Public Transport Victoria to send real-time arrival schedules and updates.
As the main access route to the Gateway Plaza Leopold precinct and the Bellarine Peninsula, key bus stop and shelter locations near the trail will also include CCTV to deter anti-social behaviour and improve safety for evening commuters and children during after school hours in winter when darkness falls early.
Public Transport Victoria will also use the smart lighting to monitor usage at the bus stops and shelters to help inform future service and infrastructure investments.
All the lights are expected to be installed by mid-2021.
Bellarine MP Lisa Neville and Geelong mayor Stephanie Asher met with local police on Monday to discuss the issue at Leopold’s Gateway Sanctuary, where one of the smart lights will be installed.
Acting Inspector Jo Janes said Victoria Police had consulted with the community on the best options the project could deliver to help the community feel safe.
“People like to see what’s around and what’s in their environment, so lighting makes a massive difference.”
Ms Neville said better lighting not only helped people feel safe but also acted as a deterrent to crime.
“People like to find dark areas where they may do graffiti or other things; there’s been a bit of anti-social behaviour around here.
“Some of these sort of investments can be as good as if not better in turning around people’s perception of safety as well as the reality of crime and having a police officer there.”
The City of Greater Geelong is contributing $30,000 towards the project, and Ms Asher said the more people that were active and using the Rail Trail, the better.
“We also want people to use public transport, so it encourages both of those things. We’re firmly behind this.”