New York launches LED streetlighting demonstration project


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) have launched an LED streetlighting demonstration project that supports Governor Andrew M Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy, by helping municipalities reduce their energy use.

The project brings together industry, government agencies, not-for-profits, and academic organizations to develop a systematic strategy to transition streetlights to energy-saving LED lighting throughout New York state. For the demonstration, a section of Central Avenue in Colonie, Albany County, will get new LED streetlights to enhance visibility and safety, as well as reduce energy costs. The new lighting is on a section of Central Avenue where NYSDOT has recently completed a series of pedestrian safety improvements actions, and it is hoped that the new LED lights will complement that work.

The LED installations are scheduled to start this autumn on the US$300,000 project, which is being supported by NYSDOT State Planning and Research funds. Once completed, the average light level along this section of the street will increase by about 35-40%, enhancing safety by making pedestrians more visible. Based on an earlier NYSDOT study, the new lights could enable Colonie to decrease its energy use by approximately 30,000kWh annually, reducing costs by approximately US$4,500 a year. To alleviate the potential issue of LED street lights that are too bright, the project partners will test the LED lights before selecting them, and properly design the height and offset into the street. They will also conduct surveys with the public and share the results with other municipalities in New York State and beyond.

The project is being led by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which issued a report in June 2016 that found LED roadway lighting could achieve substantial energy savings for localities and improve the illumination quality. The LRC will collaborate with National Grid, NYSDOT, Creighton Manning, Colonie, the Capital District Transportation Committee and the University Transportation Research Center to complete the project, which is being co-managed by NYSERDA and NYSDOT. In addition to making this stretch of road safer, the project will result in a comprehensive technical report that will document how local and state agencies and utilities can best coordinate to convert their existing roadway lighting to LED lighting. The report will be built upon the experience and knowledge gained from the design and installation of the lighting system, as well as public input on the effectiveness of the new lighting. Utilities and communities across the state own approximately 1,400,000 municipal streetlights. By replacing them with equivalent LEDs, the financial savings could add up to US$95m a year.

NYSDOT commissioner Matthew J Driscoll said, “Safety is our top priority, and this new lighting is one more way to make it safer and easier for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to travel Central Avenue. Governor Cuomo knows the importance of a sound transportation system and, working with our partners at NYSERDA and others, we are enhancing traffic safety and mobility across the state.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).