Smart Tactiles

The Challenge

Our cities are changing. As more people choose to inhabit cityscapes (1.4 million people every week), the demands and requirements placed on civic infrastructure continues to grow. Services, technology and attitudes by which individuals perceive, navigate and utilise resources are advancing in a way that creates additional stress on existing infrastructure. Furthermore, advances in MaaS transportation, multi-modal transport and autonomous vehicle technologies has meant that the physical services streetscapes provide need to be more flexible. The data revolution has also put an emphasis on personalised, experience-led economies and on-demand services.


Our Response

Smart Tactiles are self-powered LED modules which utilise renewable energy sources and are retrofitted into existing indoor and outdoor environments. They also have capabilities which feedback any excess energy into other public realm facilities such as street lighting, electric charging points etc. Their IoT-run information channels ensure a fully connected environment that is pro-active, instead of reactive.

Streets make up the backbone of a city’s ecosystem, shaping the way people move and the choices that they make. Smart Tactiles create configurable urban environments by providing ‘people activated’ light-up information, easily retrofitted within the fabric of cityscapes. This allows planners to create flexible, adaptable and responsive environments, improving the quality of life within our future cities.



Key facts

-  ‘55% of the world’s population live in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% in 2020’.

-  Every week, 1.4 million people move to cities.

-  IoT is on track to connect 50 billion “smart” things by 2020.


Our Process

In 2018 the Mayor of London published Smarter London Together – his roadmap for how he will realise his ambition to make London the world’s smartest city. In it, the Mayor sets out how he will help the city’s public services use tech and data to improve the lives of all Londoners. Smart Tactiles answer a large majority of the 20 initiatives set out in this. Key areas being - supporting an open data ecosystem, a new generation of smart city infrastructure and user-designed services. In the Mayor’s 2018 Transport Strategy, ‘Healthy Streets and healthy people’ are promoted with the introduction of active, inclusive and safe travel; making more efficient use of the street network; improving air quality and the environment.

This was a short, internal project which challenged our research and inquiry into the transport and public realm related impacts of an ageing (and growing) population. We set out to consider new, emerging boundaries in digital wayfinding and public reminder systems.

By providing more flexible and dynamic streets, Smart Tactiles support the revolution of healthier and active transport networks.




The Outcome

Smart Tactiles are an innovative public information tool that’s reflective of modern-day behaviours by adapting real-time needs of the user and environment. It is a system of responsive LED modules which digitise the landscape, revolutionising existing streetscapes by being more flexible and navigable.




This project has been featured in the NLA Future Streets research paper.