Mayor Emanuel Announces Chicago Streetlight Modernization Program Has Reached Major Milestone

August 20, 2018

In One Year Smart Lighting Program has Installed More than 76,000 Modern Lights Across All 50 Chicago Wards

Mayor’s Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the Chicago Smart Lighting Program (CSLP) is wrapping up its first year and has installed new lights in all of the city’s 50 wards. To date more than 76,000 new LED smart streetlight fixtures have been installed as part of the four-year modernization program, which is increasing the reliability and quality of Chicago’s streetlights.

“After just one year the Chicago Smart Lighting Project has reached every part of Chicago with new, energy efficient and reliable streetlights,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By modernizing our city’s streetlights we are improving nighttime visibility, creating new jobs and saving taxpayers more than $100 million over the next decade.”  

The modernization program is being implemented by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and will replace 270,000 of Chicago’s street, alley and viaduct lights with high-quality LED fixtures during its four-year timeframe. Chicago is also installing a citywide lighting management system for the new LED lights. When it becomes operational later this year, the system will alert the City when lights need service.

By switching to energy efficient LED streetlights, the City expects to cut its streetlight electricity costs by more than half, yielding savings of approximately $100 million over 10 years. Utility savings from the first year of the program are estimated to be up to $1 million. In addition, the City expects to qualify for as much as $35 million in ComEd energy efficiency rebates for switching to more efficient streetlights from outdated High-Pressure Sodium (HPS).

Streetlight fixture replacements in the first year have been focused in South and West Side neighborhoods with heightened public safety concerns, allowing those communities to quickly reap the benefits of higher quality, more reliable lighting. In addition, the new lights have been installed on more than a dozen major arterial routes and along the full length of Lake Shore Drive. 

The City has created a website ( where Chicagoans can track the progress of the program.

The new lights, which are owned and operated by the City, consume 50-75 percent less electricity than HPS lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will offset the cost of the modernization. LED fixtures also last two- to-three times longer than HPS lights. LED lights provide better nighttime visibility, and the LED light fixtures selected by the City are “full cut-off,” meaning they are designed to project light downward where it is needed on streets and sidewalks, not into the night sky.

The program was procured by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) in coordination with CDOT and the Department of Innovation and Technology (DOIT). The CIT is dedicated to assisting the City in executing large-scale and complex public projects efficiently and economically. 

“We are very pleased with the progress we have achieved in the first year of the Chicago Smart Lighting Program,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “Our goal is to provide clearer, more reliable streetlights for every Chicago neighborhood and deliver significant savings for the taxpayers.”

“This project demonstrates how the Chicago Infrastructure Trust can drive community investments that benefit the city’s residents and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “We look forward to continuing our work on much needed public infrastructure initiatives that will create equitable economic development in our neighborhoods for years to come.”

The City of Chicago has contracted with a team led by Ameresco Inc., a national leader in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, to implement the program. The City made it a priority to ensure that the selected vendor relies on a diverse lineup of subcontractors and that City residents will have access to the jobs created through the Smart Lighting Project. 

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