Road Lighting 2015 report

Published: 11-Mar-2015

Steve reports on the booming LED street light upgrade market from the Auckland conference, 9-10 March

What are the key learnings from the top 50 example projects ranging from 2,000 to 600,000 light upgrades in cities from all continents?

How has lighting quality and road safety improved?

How is lighting being integrated with other sensors to create "Smart City infrastructure"? What can it do?

Upgrade to LED?

Upgrading to street lighting is a ‘no brainer’ (quote used by at least 5 speakers) and should be undertaken now.

Upgrading of LED streetlights was occurring worldwide with the top 50 examples projects listed ranging from 2,000 to 600,000 light upgrades in cities from all continents.

Example case studies from USA – Los Angeles and San Diego, France, London and Canada were provided. In all cases significant energy savings were achieved but more importantly improved lighting outcomes with positive feedback from residents and improved safety for cars and pedestrians as well as security. The general consensus was that the whiter cleaner light was a vast improvement on the existing HID sodium lights. Los Angeles had changed 150,000 lights with a LED failure of 0.43%. Following the upgrade they received feedback from 100 residents of which most were positive. Their upgrade started 5 years ago.

Smart City Infrastructure

A significant part of the conference was discussing the opportunity of connecting the new streetlights with a central management system (CMS). A CMS which would integrate lighting with other sensors and form part of a move towards ‘Smart City’ infrastructure. The additional cost of the CMS was discussed widely, however the general consensus was the ability to adjust (dim) the lights to meet variations in traffic and future changes in lighting standards would present ongoing energy savings. An additional benefit of fault reporting would assist the Asset Manager especially in larger installations.

Several examples, including Eden Park in Auckland, were provided of initially increasing the lighting and then dimming it in surrounding streets to sporting stadiums to enable authorities to manage the movement of patrons to and from a sporting event.


Extensive studies on road lighting in relation to safety have been undertaken in Washington State (USA). These studies indicate that lighting upgrades were based upon a risk assessment and did not necessarily follow the existing road lighting standards.

Their analysis was that many preconceived notions about road lighting need to be challenged and in many cases lighting could be switched off in some areas and enhanced in other high-risk, high use areas for better safety outcomes for both drivers and pedestrians.

Funding mechanisms

A range of innovative public private partnerships (PPP), energy performance contracts (EPC) and financing options were discussed that were available to help local government to upgrade this infrastructure.

Value of lighting design in maximising energy savings

The case studies indicated that the greatest savings were achieved when a full lighting design was undertaken on each light prior to selection. In many instances a standard light was selected and then rolled out on a one-for-one replacement. In these cases the full energy-saving benefit was not achieved.

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