When a particular technology catches on, it can touch every aspect of daily life. Even the most mundane of functions can be transformed. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are no exception, and they continue to flex their muscle in new and innovative ways.


Even the streets will be safer as LEDs add a whole new dimension to the process of street lighting. According to a recent report, the market for LEDs in streetlights will grow steadily in the next decade, as their cost-saving and networking potential are exploited.


In February, Washington, D.C.-based market research firm Northeast Group released “Global LED and Smart Street Lighting Market Forecast (2014–2025).” It describes an industry that is poised to expand.


According to the report, there are currently 281.4 million streetlights in the world, a figure that is expected to grow to 339.9 million by the year 2025. As municipalities replace old and aging streetlights, they are increasingly turning to more energy- and cost-efficient LEDs as a replacement.


LEDs offer a number of advantages to local governments that are responsible for maintaining streetlights. They last longer, use less electricity and require less maintenance, all of which translates into huge savings for cash-strapped governments.


They also offer other advantages. The report maintains that LEDs are being networked into communications systems, turning them into “smart street lights.” These networked features allow municipalities to reduce costs through things like off-peak dimming. They can also improve safety by reducing the downtime of streetlights. When a smart light goes out, city workers are informed right away and can quickly replace them so a street will not go without proper lighting.


The network connection enables municipalities to link and manage related functions such as power and water meters, traffic lights, and parking meters, along with their streetlights. The concept of these networked public works is launching municipalities into the realm of “smart cities.”


The Northeast Group projects the LED streetlight market to reach $57.8 billion by 2025.