The city of London is set to receive a £2.4 million traffic light upgrade that will replace 3,500 existing lamps at some 300 junctions with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Compared to standard lights, LEDs consume 60 per cent less electricity and thus generate far less carbon dioxide emissions. The 300 new LED-fitted junctions are expected to save about 600 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year and lower energy costs by an estimated £200,000.
This introduction of LED traffic lights is the largest of its kind in the UK. TfL is seeking to stimulate the development of LED traffic signals and to encourage more manufacturers to join the market. It is expected that there will be a greater takeup across the UK as a result of TfL’s commitment to introducing the lights in large numbers.
The new lights are part of Mayor Boris Johnson’s efforts to reduce the capital’s CO2 emissions by a total of 60 per cent by 2025. The initiative follows the introduction of LED lighting at all London Buses roadside ticket machines and LED lighting at 3,500 solar-powered bus stops (to provide illumination for the stop and signage) and 640 shelters. If LED lights were to be installed in all of London’s 6,000 junctions which have traffic signals, CO2 emissions could be reduced by around 12,000 tonnes a year.
“I’ve seen the future and it comprises these tip-top energy-busting traffic lights,” Johnson said. “Installing these eco-bulbs will cut the climate change emissions coming from London’s galaxy of traffic lights by over half as well as save money from energy bills. We are pressing ahead to get many more of these illuminating orbs onto our streets to join a range of other energy-zapping measures already saving us money such as solar-powered bus stops and shelters.”
TfL is leading the way with LED traffic light trials which it hopes will pave the way for their wider introduction across the UK. LED product designs and costs have rapidly improved dramatically in recent years and initial barriers specific to the requirements of the UK market are being overcome ahead of the installation in London next year.
TfL trialled on a small scale LED traffic lights in Croydon between January 2007 and August 2008. These trials demonstrated that a product suitable for the UK marketplace, with reduced power consumption and at a reasonable price, was feasible.
“These new lights will not only cut CO2 emissions but they will also last about ten times longer than standard bulbs meaning we will save on maintenance costs,” said Alan Bristow, director of traffic operations at TfL. “This is part of our efforts across TfL to cut CO2 emissions. On top of introducing new hybrid buses to London’s streets, we are currently exploring new technologies including more efficient Tube station and tunnel lighting.”
TfL has issued a notice seeking companies to supply and fit the lights, with the application period closing on 24 August. The scheme is being funded through TfL’s Climate Change Fund.