Haverhill To Install Italian Company's 'Smart Benches' At Bus Stops

Photo: Karyn Regal / WBZ NewsRadio

HAVERHILL, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — If you thought benches were an archaic technology— think again. The City of Haverhill is planning on installing 'smart benches' at multiple bus stops, that double as wireless chargers for phones and free WiFi routers for residents to access the Internet.

"Mira" benches from Canavisia, a division of Italian company Seica Inc., will be implemented at some stops on the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority. WBZ's Karyn Regal spoke to Kaylnn Mele of Seica about Mira's specs, and how the benches could bring Haverhill one step closer to becoming a "smart city."

"If you want a basic model for your citizens that just do charging and WiFi, that's totally fine. But we have higher-end models that do have sensors for weather and air pollution, and passengers, and how many people are sitting on the bench and using the bench. The City can then monitor how much CO2 is in that area where the buses are idling, and can decide what they need to do," Mele said.

According to Canavisia, Mira's structure is manufactured in galvanized steel with customizable colors, and has a seat and back rest made from wood plastic composite, an eco-friendly material. Officials say it's also possible to insert a solar panel into the top of the back.

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Other features Mira models can include are Bluetooth audio systems, LED night lighting, and charging for 230-volt bikes and scooters.

While Seica is donating one Mira bench to Haverhill, the City plans to buy more using money from state grants. The company says the benches should hold up in the New England weather, and that there is already one installed near the Italian Alps.

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports.

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