Recap: Second Smart Safety & Security Talks Session

26 Apr 2024
Author: HSD Foundation

During the second Smart Safety & Security Talk (SSST) on 25 April, Bo Peeters and Jan Willems of the Leuven municipality took the participants through the set-up and findings of their projects on reducing night-time noise using technology and nudging techniques. This event was organised by the Impact Coalition Safety & Security. It believes that by developing a versatile set of instruments for administrators and executives in the city, they can increase urban safety in Dutch cities. Their mission is to join forces to use Smart Society and digitisation in an effective and efficient manner for issues related to Safety & Security.


Leuven is a provincial capital with 103,000 inhabitants and 55,000 students with a vibrant nightlife and night noise in 'pull-through' streets. In their 'Nachtlawaai' project, Leuven experimented with a set of noise sensors, noise ratings, a notification app for citizens and a smart city data platform where all the data comes together. Starting this year, they started a follow-up with the municipalities of Antwerp and Ghent. Ultimately, the idea is that there will be a kind of predictive model, making work easier for enforcers.


Some takeaways from this insightful session:

  • Nudging via a moving projection on the street helps: Nudging window signs and pavement stickers virtually did not work; however, a moving projection on the street with ‘here sleeps [name] [(age)]’ did have a clear effect. It reduced 34% of the nuisance. Although further down the street (after receiving 1st message), it was less effective. The loudest noise peaks did not decrease. Especially people who are ‘accidentally’ too loud are affected. Later in the evening is less decrease noise. They also experimented with nudging via light by making lampposts shine louder or softer in response to noise. It was technically possible, but the effect was still difficult to monitor.
  • Noise recognition is difficult: Traffic is the biggest cause of noise pollution at night. This is followed up by 'unclassified noise' and shoutings by people. Sound recognition proves to be difficult, if you are careful and pay attention to privacy rules.
    Enforcement of catering licence is done with noise measurement equipment in the catering establishments themselves. Measurements of decibels come in on a police dashboard. This is relatively simple and works well.
  • 'De Oorzaak' - A citizensscience project: The university of Antwerp and 'De Morgen' have launched a project to measure noise pollution using citizens science. Residents will get measuring devices attached to their facades and fill in a weekly questionnaire. The results are expected to arrive in July 2025.
  • Follow-up to pilot - 'Nudging Down Night Noise' (NDNN): Together with Ghent, Leuven continues to develop a system of sensors, data platform and nudging to reduce noise pollution. Over the next two years, more measurements will be taken in more places, with better noise recognition and new nudges. Here, attention is obviously paid to privacy and information security. Results are expected to come in two years (2025/2026).


Impact Coalition Safety & Security (ICSS)

The event was organised by the Impact Coalition Safety & Security: a collaboration between municipalities, police, knowledge institutions, companies, VNG and HSD Office. Want to know more about ICSS, this meeting or other ICSS activities? Visit: Veilige Smart Cities


Next Smart Safety & Security Talk

The next 'Smart Safety & Security Talks' session will be held on the 13 June!

More information on this session will be published soon! 


If you want to know more about this, contact ICSS' community manager:


Schermafbeelding 2024 04 25 om 15.32.24


 Schermafbeelding 2024 04 25 om 15.33.16

More Interviews

All interviews