The state of Illinois announced another step in the evolution of its “smart state” initiative with the release of an RFP that will ultimately allow local government to leverage the benefits of connected street lighting.

Gov. Bruce Rauner made the announcement in conjunction with the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) Jan. 31. Under the RFP, known as Smart Street Lighting for Illinois Municipalities, companies are encouraged to bid on the statewide master contract, the benefits of which would be passed along for local government organizations to leverage.  

In a press release, officials said the end product would allow smaller cities and towns to reap the benefits of connected infrastructure — that it will level the playing field for small and medium cities, villages and townships in the state, which is something Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt spoke with Government Technology about in November of 2016.

By making resources available and providing access to infrastructure, Bhatt said small government in Illinois can share the same opportunities for smarter cities as their larger more technologically advanced neighbors.

“So, every town in Illinois can easily become part of the smart cities movement and apply these smart city solutions. They don’t really have to go through their own procurement, etc.,” he said. “Now, we are creating an equalizing opportunity for Sandwich, Ill., Peoria, Rockford, they can be as smart as Chicago.”

On the whole, LED lighting can improve efficiency and advance innovation for Illinois through energy savings and adaptive controls, according to the press release, which also states that smart street lighting "enables real-time control of lighting levels, based on external factors such as pedestrian activity and traffic patterns.”