Electrical Department

Image of the LED Streetlight

LED Streetlight Conversion Project:

The City of Cambridge is implementing major improvements to the existing street lighting system; every City-owned streetlight will be replaced with new LED lights. Over the coming months, Cambridge residents will start to see the old “cobra head” style streetlights systematically replaced with new LED lights.

The most current, energy-efficient technology, combined with careful design and planning, is slated to reduce the City’s annual streetlight energy usage.

Currently, the LED street lights being installed across Cambridge are much brighter than they will be once the new state of the art wireless control system is activated. This lighting control system will adjust the brightness of each light to an appropriate illumination level for its location. However, the system will not be fully activated for a few weeks.

Once the wireless control system installation is complete, most LED street lights will produce only 70% of their current brightness. Additionally, the system is designed so that later in the evening the fixtures will dim even further.

The contractors installing the new LED lights will be working in each City neighborhood on the respective street cleaning days, from June-August.

Designing the New System:

Drawing from a pool of emerging and ongoing research into visibility, safety, and the effects of lighting on the environment, a system of street classifications was developed to determine appropriate light levels for various types of streets, from the smallest tree-lined residential street to the busiest urban intersection. Using detailed information from the City’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database, as well as on-site evaluations, streets were evaluated for width, light pole spacing, and vehicular and pedestrian activity.

Each street throughout the entire City was examined in person by a member of the project team.

After comprehensive analysis, the streets were assigned to a range of categories, addressing lighting requirements for both roadways and sidewalks, and limiting glare and light trespass. These standards are in accordance with the most stringent established guidelines (used by the Federal Highway Administration, MassDOT and the Illuminating Engineering Society) while still aligning with the unique characteristics of Cambridge and its diverse neighborhoods.

What to Expect:

The new LED streetlights will provide more consistent and appropriate illumination throughout the City. Improved color and uniformity, reduced glare, and greatly improved color rendition will increase visibility, security, and safety on our streets and sidewalks. Unwanted “spill light” into homes and onto properties will be reduced by specialized optical assemblies. A state-of-the-art wireless control and monitoring system will allow fine-tuning of light output, enhanced energy conservation, and energy usage tracking capabilities.

This project will improve sustainability, comfort, safety, and the enduring beauty of Cambridge.

Request a Streetlight

Image of streetlight in Cambridge

to request a streetlight.

Department Information

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Stephen Lenkauskas, City Electrician