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The MTA Upgrades New York City Subway System Lights to LEDs

By Randolph Sturdivant | Mar 28, 2024
Close-up shot of LEDs

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) says “let there be light” in New York City’s subway stations—and it will be brighter.

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) says “let there be light” in New York City’s subway stations—and it will be brighter.

In an effort to brighten every platform and mezzanine throughout the Big Apple’s 472 subway stations, the MTA has begun implementing their plan to switch all 150,000 fixtures from fluorescent lighting to LED.

LED lighting holds a host of advantages over fluorescent lighting. Incredibly efficient, they convert up to 90% percent of their energy into light while losing only about 10% to heat, yielding lower energy costs over time while generating a much brighter light. They are unaffected by the cold, and their longer lifespan means fewer bulbs needing to be replaced due to burnouts. The lighting replacement is projected to yield an estimated $5.9 million in annual recurring energy and material cost savings while addressing passengers safety needs, earning the hearty approval of riders.

The project, begun in late January 2024 at the Bergen St. Station—home to the F and G trains—follows closely behind the MTA’s Re-NEW-Vation initiative to make station-wide repairs, enhancements and deep cleanings during planned weekend service outages.

The new LED luminaires are designed for extreme environments and offer high durability and customization options in addition to their energy efficiency.

"It's simple: a brighter station is a safer station. Transit crews have already upgraded the lighting at every station where we’ve completed a Re-NEW-Vation, and customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey.

The added light will go a long way to increasing the lighting for the subway system’s 15,000 security cameras.

Electricians play a large role in the installation process, and senior MTA officials have nothing but good things to say about the teams hard at work upgrading the systems.

Work on this project is expected to be completed by mid-2026.

About The Author

Randolph Terrance Sturdivant is an SPJ award-winning, Emmy-nominated, freelance writer and comedian living in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. He is a prolific writer with stories covering a range of emotion and subjects. Reach him at [email protected]

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