CENT-R is future-proofing Rotterdam

Launch pilot with ‘multifunctional platform’ in Rotterdam

The CENT-R is a ‘platform’, a type of box that is ready for the future:  it can be used for electric charging and it can be equipped with 5G internet, cameras, street lighting and sensors that can measure things like air pollution and noise.

In the future, the CENT-R could even replace the electrical boxes along the street and could handle electricity more effectively. So many features that come together in a single platform is unique. When the pilot starts, the CENT-Rs will only be set up with lighting and electric charging points. The city will then talk to residents and other stakeholders in the district to see what else they would like to use the CENT-R for.

The CENT-R and how it came about is typical for Rotterdam and its approach to digitization according to Kathmann: “Rotterdam has high ambitions: We want to be the example of a digital city in 2025, a sensible city where the citizens of Rotterdam are ready for the future. And that will demand smart solutions. At the same time, the citizens of Rotterdam also have their concerns about digitization. We want to use the pilot in Reyeroord to demonstrate the technical capabilities and to sit down with everyone involved in the district to talk about the needs of the box, as well as the topics of privacy and safety. How do you as a city ensure that a large-scale rollout of 5G will be successful while not losing sight of the residents’ needs? How do we make sure that the residents’ personal data do not fall into the wrong hands? How do we enable electric driving and make it accessible? The CENT-R pilot is a great example of how we are going to explore these questions with the district’s residents.”  

CENT-R will counter uncontrolled growth of objects along the street
Virgil Warnars of Lightwell, the company that designed the CENT-R on behalf of, and in collaboration with, the City of Rotterdam: “One reason to develop the CENT-R was to transition how power is provided. The CENT-R enables us to quickly install many charging points for electric cars and to continuously monitor air quality. Another reason was the arrival of 5G”  Peter Wijnands of Urban Management for the City of Rotterdam and the initiator of the CENT-R, adds: “It is a concept whereby the lamp post no longer serves as the basis for all the smart city applications. In this way, we prevent lamp posts from looking like modified clothes racks for housing various cameras and sensors. We want to avoid the uncontrolled growth of boxes and posts in the public space. With the smart and circular design of the post, future applications can be added very easily. This means that we can quickly incorporate the latest innovations in technology.”

Reyeroord as an example for the future

The pilot with the CENT-Rs in the public space is a good fit with the IJsselmonde district, where multiple innovative projects form a part of an approach in which residents, contractors, companies and the City of Rotterdam all work together to create the ‘district of tomorrow’.


Practical information

CENT-R stands for Connective Energy Network Tool – Rotterdam. The pilot will run until late 2020. Studies will show whether the pilot can lead to a further rollout of CENT-Rs in the city. The pilot is a project initiated by the City of Rotterdam and developer Lightwell in collaboration with manufacturer Valmont, the Da Vinci College Dordrecht, Hogeschool Rotterdam and installation company CityTec.