More Power to your Footfall says Toulouse

Pavement pounding in Toulouse is now an officially encouraged leisure activity, as people begin to power-up the city!

(This report has been corrected see update below)
Alexandre Marciel, Deputy Mayor of La Ville Rose told FrenchNewsOnline that flaneurs out strolling or shopping will be happy to know that as they use up their shoe leather they are helping generate power for the street lights of France’s 5th largest city (pop. 964,797).

M. Marciel said city authorities had now successfully finished nearly a year of on-site tests of pavement slabs fitted with micro-sensors linked to storage batteries and was rolling out pavements that will capture cost-free kinetic energy from shoppers as they stroll along the city’s boulevards (see People Power) .

Daytime shoppers light the night in Toulouse | Photo © Philippe LEJEAILLE •

The innovative sidewalks — with paving slabs able to generate some 30 watts of power — were officially inaugurated by the City Council in Place François Mitterrand over the weekend April 2-3rd.

In an email M. Marciel said: “The good news is that people using the sidewalk appeared not to have noticed, visually or underfoot, that as they were walking they were generously producing free electricity for overhead lighting”.

As these YouTube film clips, provided by the Council, show the locals appear oblivous to the “Trotelec” -trottoir producteur d’energie de rue the people powered pavements on which they now stroll.

The council film team watches for reactions on the first day of the rollout:

He said the electricity generated by passersby walking over specially-equipped pavement slabs is stored to illuminate street lamps during the night – “locally produced energy for immediate local use” is the council slogan.

Toulouse is to demonstrate its unique power pavements, which use Dutch dance floor technology –the “Sustainable Dance Floor”— at an environmental energy week in Brussels hosted April 12-14 by the EU’s energy commissioner.

So next time you’re in the centre of Toulouse look out for the lampost with the people power sinage and encourage the kids to work off some excess energy with a bit of a hop, skip and jump on the paving slabs.

Watch for this light-the-street sign then do a little sidewalk jig.

Every little bit counts, as someone once said.

Story: Ken Pottinger


(23 November 2011) Laurent Villerouge, Chairman of the Toulouse-based start-up VIHA CONCEPT ( has asked us to correct this report on the basis that the technology used is, according to him, designed and developed by his company. “Trotelec is my project and is not the same technology as that initially tested (in Toulouse 12 months earlier) by “Sustainable Dance Floor” (the Dutch company mentioned in our original report), he told us.

Editorial note: The pictures and video clips used in this report were all supplied by the city’s deputy mayor Alexandre Marciel and show Trotelec equipment at work, not that of the SDC-Sustainable Dance Floor (which converts kinetic energy into electricity) as we initially reported. The confusion apparently arises because while the pilot scheme (see our first report here) was installed and tested by the Toulouse municipality in conjunction with the SDC-Sustainable Dance Floor company of the Netherlands and using its technology, Toulouse later opted to partner with a local start-up in developing the concept it has now installed. Sustainable Dance Floor confirmed to French News Online that our initial report was correct as its technology was indeed involved in the test stages. However subsequent development and installation was pursued by a local company (VIHA CONCEPT). Both SDC and VIHA CONCEPT say they have worldwide patents pending on the technology. We are happy to correct the report to reflect these developments.

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