In the realm of public transportation and dwindling governmental financial support, efficiency has become key. Such is the story for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which is continually looking to improve the safety and experience of its riders and cut costs wherever possible.


Recently, WMATA made some strides in upgrading its facility lighting to save in long-term costs and increase safety for its riders.


First, WMATA looked to replace high-pressure sodium lamps in its 25 parking garages. It recently awarded a 10-year performance lighting contract to Philips.


The lighting manufacturer will convert the more than 13,000 lighting fixtures to a custom-designed light-emitting diode (LED) solution that will reduce energy usage by 68 percent or 15 million kilowatt-hours per year and provide real-time data on energy consumption. 


The new system will not only make the garages brighter and safer for 66,000 customers, but also prevent more than 11,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The best part for WMATA is that Philips will monitor and maintain the lighting solution, which will be financed through energy cost savings, requiring no upfront capital costs for WMATA.


The Philips system will cover both the interior and exterior lighting of the parking garages and will include Philips’ G3 and EcoForm luminaires. Both feature a modular design that can be configured to the needs of each garage. An adaptive motion-
response system and wireless controls will allow the system to dim when no one is present.


In another move toward more modern, efficient lighting, WMATA General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles announced a project to upgrade the lighting in all of its underground stations. 


New station lighting replaces old, “coffee-can” styles, and WMATA said it has achieved greater efficiency, better light distribution and a higher color rendering index. The retrofits will achieve a lower lifecycle cost through longevity, meaning maintenance savings.


Five stations are already completed, and the remaining 42 stations will be finished by 2015.