Chicago’s LED Infrastructure Overhaul

- Sep 05, 2019-

Several phases of the project will elapse before any existing lights are replaced, including open bids, requests for quotations and proposals, contracting, and construction. Financing for the project is anticipated to come from cost savings and increased efficiencies that will be realized once the system is fully deployed. Several aspects of the initiative make it noteworthy within the LED lighting industry.

First, this project represents the largest single LED retrofit in any single location throughout the world. Other cities, including Los Angeles, have already made inroads to retrofitting streetlights with LED technology, but Chicago’s plan is the most ambitious of all major US cities.

This project also reflects the city’s desire for a public-private partnership to develop an optimum solution for the city’s lighting issues. The CIT is an organization of private Chicago business leaders who are combining their finance and management expertise to improve the city’s commercial and residential appeal.CIT is one of the CIT’s first major initiatives. The September 2015 request for information received 40 separate responses from sponsoring organizations, each of which included input from four or five other private entities.

The LED infrastructure overhaul also seeks to accomplish more than just an install of retrofitted and replacement street lights. The newest generations of LED technology include smart systems that can respond and react to ambient conditions to provide more or less light as needed, and to read and provide feedback on traffic conditions. A few private companies have rolled out smartphone apps that allow drivers to pre-arrange parking at locations around the city. Some respondents to the CIT’s request for information believe that smart LED technology can feed into these apps to improve parking availability and efficiency.