CDOT Announces Installation of 200k Energy-Efficient Streetlights Through Smart Lighting Program

February 17, 2020

Program achieves city-wide cost and energy savings while creating economic opportunities and improved quality of life in Chicago neighborhoods

Mike Claffey    312.744.0707 |

Susan Hofer    312.742.2006 |

CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced that the City’s streetlight modernization program has reached a major milestone, with the installation of 200,000 LED streetlights. The Chicago Smart Lighting Program program, which launched in September 2017, is on track to reach the goal of 270,000 new lights by 2021. Through replacing outdated High Pressure Sodium lights with modern, energy efficient LED streetlights, the CDOT program is providing clearer, more reliable outdoor lighting and expects to reduce electricity costs by $100 million over the first ten years.


“Today marks a major milestone towards delivering safer, cleaner, more efficient, and more affordable lighting for Chicago’s residents and businesses, all while creating good, well-paying jobs across our city and saving our taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “As we progress toward our goal of 270,000 new lights by next year, we will continuously be seeking other new ways to modernize and transform our infrastructure in order to better serve our communities, support the environment, and stand as a model for the nation.”


More than half of the new streetlights have been assembled at manufacturing plants on the South and West Sides of Chicago that employ a number of second-chance, returning citizens. Installations in the first half of 2020 will be taking place in the community areas of Hegewisch, South Deering, West Lawn, West Edison, Archer Heights, McKinley Park, Bridgeport, Douglas and Amour Square on the South Side and Avondale, Irving Park, Rogers Park and Edgewater on the North Side.


Throughout the program, the City has been committed to supporting minority and women-owned businesses as well as a diverse workforce. The program is exceeding a 26 percent minority owned business participation goal and the program has consistently met a six percent women-owned businesses participation goal. To date, 63 percent of the program’s workforce are Chicago residents and 35 percent of the workforce are residents from economically disadvantaged areas.


“We are making steady progress toward our goal of providing clearer, more reliable energy-efficient lighting in every Chicago neighborhood,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “The new lights make it more comfortable, safe and easy for people to navigate their neighborhoods at night, whether coming home from school, headed to a night shift job, or going for an evening stroll. And once the new smart lighting system is operational, it will improve CDOT operations by alerting us when there is a lighting outage, allowing us to respond and make repairs more quickly.”


To improve the response to streetlight outages, the CSLP program is also installing a citywide lighting management system for the new LED lights. When it becomes operational, the system will alert the City when lights need service. The public is advised to continue to call or text 311 to report outages until the smart lighting system is operational.


In designing the smart lighting program, the City sought guidance from national lighting experts, including those at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).


“Deploying the networked monitoring and control technology was something no other city had attempted at this scale,” said Michael Poplawski, lead of PNNL’s Connected Lighting Program. “We knew if Chicago was successful, it would significantly advance adoption of this technology by other cities.”


In addition to reducing the City’s electricity costs for streetlights by about $10 million per year, the City is earning ComEd energy efficiency incentive rebates, which to date have totaled $21.5 million.  Total anticipated rebates over the four years program are estimated at $35 million. The electricity savings and rebates are expected to offset much of the $160 million cost of the program.


The program is helping Chicago meet its commitment to 100 percent clean energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. The reduced electricity usage is estimated at 116.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity through the end of 2019. The reduction in carbon dioxide is equivalent to removing more than 14,000 cars from our roads.


The public can track the progress and view an interactive map that shows areas that will receive new lights in the coming two-week period at the CSLP website at:

News Release Facts