Saving Energy Isn't the Only Reason Cities Are Using LED Lighting

Beyond boosting energy efficiency, advanced lighting systems can use sensors and software to detect motion and transmit images and audio.

by Citiscope / July 9, 2015
Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tenn., saw a dramatic improvement in safety after the city added lights that police could remotely brighten, dim or flash. Shutterstock

Cities have been turning to LED street lights to save energy costs for a few years. Now, they’re also using the technology to enhance emergency communication, Jeffrey Spivak reports for Urban Land.

In downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., a public park turned dangerous each night as rival gangs moved in. The park’s safety improved dramatically after the city added lights that police could remotely brighten, dim or flash.

Beyond boosting energy efficiency, advanced lighting systems can use sensors and software to detect motion and transmit images and audio. The LED lights relay information about human activity and traffic, and can adjust automatically. They also monitor the environment by measuring temperatures, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, rainfall and wind, the article says. Lights can be programmed to dim overnight when few cars or pedestrians are on a street, but temporarily brighten if someone appears on the sidewalk.

Downtown Las Vegas and Chicago’s Navy Pier are among the locations that have switched to LED lights. Two trends favor this lighting, Spivak reports. One is that LED prices keep falling, increasing the technology’s competitiveness in the marketplace. The second is that as local, state and federal government pass laws aiming at improving energy efficiency, there’s a greater push to replace incandescent bulbs, the article says.

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