Chicago Smart Lighting Program

The City of Chicago is installing better quality, more reliable LED light fixtures on streets, alleys and viaducts to increase safety, reduce energy costs, and improve the environment. This city-wide lighting initiative will replace 270,000 existing outdated HPS light fixtures with new energy-efficient LED lights.

Below is a interactive map showing Upcoming (Two Week Look Ahaead) Arterial street light replacements in our Ward.

Crews are expected to move relatively quickly through streets and alleys as they replace the light fixtures. Each light fixture replacement usually takes approximately 15 minutes.

Replacement of all the lights on a block will take approximately one hour. The LED light installation is not anticipated to close arterial streets. Any parking restrictions that may be needed will be posted prior to installation

No, electricity to homes will not be turned off or affected during light fixture installations.

Project Information:

Most of the City’s current streetlights are High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights which is an outdated technology. LED lights are now the industry standard because they provide better light quality, last two to three times longer, and are more cost- and energy effective. The program will enhance quality of life for all Chicagoans by providing better, more reliable lighting along with improving responsiveness to streetlight service requests.

Based on current projections, the program will convert approximately 85% (over 270,000) of Chicago’s lights to LED. This is expected to include all “cobra head” fixtures, which make up the bulk of the city’s lighting system. The scope of this program does not include ornamental fixtures or previously installed white light fixtures.

About one percent of Chicago’s streetlights have already been converted to LED (approximately 4,000 fixtures). The City first began installing LED lights on a limited basis in 2012. All new lights installed by CDOT since 2016 are LED . The City’s experience to-date is that most residents prefer the crispness and color of LED lights. Additionally, the City conducted LED lighting demonstrations in seven neighborhoods in December 2016/January 2017. Public input was requested and hundreds submitted comments or completed an online survey. These public survey results informed the refinement of final lighting specifications for the conversion.

LED lights will be installed in portions of every ward in 2017/18. To track installation progress, visit the Installation Map. You may also receive notice from your alderman and other neighborhood sources up to two weeks in advance of crews arriving to convert the light fixtures on your street.

The implementation plan prioritizes areas where public safety needs are greatest. Main arterial streets in areas on the South and West Sides will be the first areas to see installation of new light fixtures, starting in September 2017. Beginning in early 2018, crews will then install new light fixtures on neighborhood streets and alleys in those same priority areas on the South and West Sides. However, to ensure every ward experiences the new lighting soon, in the first half of 2018 crews will also install the new light fixtures on additional arterials throughout the entire City. By next summer, every ward will have some new LED light fixtures on its streets. Installation areas for the following years will also be prioritized based on public safety needs and lighting reliability.

The new LED lights are designed to focus light downward toward the street and sidewalk where it is needed and limits light shining into nearby homes. Based on these factors, we expect the program will improve nighttime visibility while also reducing light pollution.

Due to the energy efficiency of LED lights, the City will be reducing electricity consumption by at least 50 percent, which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

LEDs were closely studied in the planning process, which included input from industry experts including scientists, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and municipal street lighting managers from across the U.S. The selected LEDs are consistent with American Medical Association’s (AMA) community guidance standards.

Only limited pole replacements are expected as part of the program. Most poles and wiring are still in adequate condition and do not need to be replaced immediately. The City is conducting a condition assessment of poles and wiring prior to beginning installation to determine which poles and wiring would need to be replaced to improve reliability. Repairs or replacements of poles and wiring will be made in some cases based on the assessment.

Reducing Outages

Since LED lights last two to three times as long as the existing High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights, far fewer lights will be out at any given time. A remote monitoring and control system will be installed which will allow the City to immediately know when and where outages occur, and better manage the performance of the City’s lighting system. This is expected to greatly reduce the need for citizens to report outages, and reduce the response time for required service.

All LED fixtures installed in 2017 and beyond will have a maximum correlated color temperature (CCT) of 3000K or less. The new light fixtures will provide a clear white light which provides improved color rendering compared to the traditional orange-hued High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights in use since the 1970’s.


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