Project Info

Philly Streetlight Improvement Project

Philadelphia, PA

Sustainable Design and Planning

Citywide Infrastructure


Project Team

City of Philadelphia – Department of Streets | Ameresco | City of Philadelphia Office of Sustainability | Philadelphia Energy Authority


Project Description

The Philadelphia Streetlight Improvement Project (PSIP) will replace and connect the City’s 130,000 existing streetlighting with LED luminaires that will be controllable through a remote monitoring network. PSIP will reduce streetlighting energy use by more than 50 percent and is the single largest energy conservation project the City has undertaken, reducing municipal carbon emissions by more than 9 percent.

PSIP has been developed and designed to provide cleaner, greener, and safer streets in a cost-effective manner, while achieving the Vision Zero goal of improving nighttime visibility on Philadelphia’s streets for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians by converting citywide streetlights to LED.

The project development phase incorporated significant community engagement strategies and feedback. This included the installation of sample fixtures in fifteen different locations across the city (at least one in each City Council District) to solicit the public’s feedback on their color temperature preferences and preferred amount of light. Live events were held at each installation to encourage feedback while viewing the LED fixtures and allow for the project team to share details on the project and proactively addressing community concerns. Members of the project team also attended numerous meetings of Registered Community Organizations and other local meetings to communicate the goals of the project and to address any concerns raised. A website was established to provide information and background on the project and to post questions to frequently asked questions.

For further analysis following the community engagement process, vendors provided samples of the proposed luminaires that the PSIP team evaluated for visual comfort e.g. glare. As a result of this glare assessment, an additional comfort feature – diffused optics – was selected for the luminaires to help reduce the brightness of the LED source without significantly impacting performance. To ensure the fixtures selected were designed and deployed appropriately based on their location, prototypical samples of each cobrahead lighting application were developed using city GIS databases, aerial imagery, and the results of multi-month, citywide field audit to provide dimensionally accurate input data for use with the photometric analysis software.

The input data critical to the modeling task included roadway, driveway, and intersection widths, light pole placements and spacings, light pole heights, mast arm lengths, road surface composition and reflectance, and quantities of light poles per typical intersection. As a result, 28 typical roadway applications were identified and used to determine the appropriate fixture, and design parameters that will best focus the light where it is needed. Additionally, using traffic, crime, social and economic data, as well public safety initiatives such at 57 Blocks, streets that scored high on these criteria points were prioritized for higher or “boosted” levels of streetlight illumination using the lighting management system. Replacement of “boosted” fixture is also prioritized on the construction timeline.

Upon the completion of the 2-year installation period, the City of Philadelphia will have a customized, controllable streetlight system that results annually in approximately 37M kWh energy savings, elimination of 11k tons of CO2 emissions, and $8M in energy cost and O&M savings.