Let There Be Light: Bus Stop to Cheer Up Daylight-Deprived Swedes

A Swedish town is installing lighted bus stops to combat short, dark days.
Brighter, happier, days are on the horizon for the townspeople of Umea, Sweden. (Photo: Courtesy Umea Energy on Facebook)
Nov 29, 2012· 1 MIN READ
Jenna is a Editorial Intern at TakePart and a high school senior in New York City.

Most people look forward to winter as a time for ice-skating, chunky wool sweaters, and hot chocolate. But for some in Sweden, where more than a few towns only receive four hours of daylight per day, winter is a time filled with dread.

To combat these overdeveloped winter blues, the Swedish town of Umea is installing ultraviolet lights at 30 bus stops, courtesy of Umea Energi. While these new lights will increase energy use, Umea Energi has assured the public that the lights will be powered with “environmentally sound sources.” Also, the lights will only be used for three weeks, during the darkest time of the year.

MORE: Sweden: So Clean It's Paid to Import Garbage

The plan is simple: The bus stop lighting will give the commuters a jolt of energy.

Twenty percent of Swedish suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately abbreviated to SAD), which is essentially winter-induced depression.

Also considering that today in Umea the sun rose around 9 a.m. and set around 2 p.m.—for a whopping five hours of daylight—lighting bus stops is probably a good idea for the town’s general mental health and safety.

On top of all that, Sweden is very ahead of the curve when it comes to living sustainably (88 percent of their aluminum cans are recycled annually) so the lights will probably have a minimal environmental impact.

When it comes to Umea’s bus stops: let there be light!

Jenna Shapiro is a high school senior in New York City who is passionate about writing and environmental issues. She has previously worked with EcoLogic Solutions. In her free time she can be found reading, biking, or walking her adorable dogs!