LED lighting installed in London road tunnel

June 21, 2011
The Upper Thames Street tunnel in Central London has become the first UK road tunnel to be fitted with linear LED lighting, according to Transport for London.
In a UK first, linear LED lighting has been installed in a central London tunnel by Transport for London (TfL), helping to improve safety and reduce maintenance closures as well as cut energy consumption and costs.
LED tunnel lights in London The Upper Thames Street westbound tunnel is now entirely lit with LED lights. The design and colour of the lights is intended to improve visibility for cyclists and motorists to boost safety.

The linear LED lighting system has been designed and manufactured by Indal WRTL and installed by SPIE WHS on behalf of Ringway Jacobs, TfL’s highway maintenance contractor.

TfL says that it will be closely monitoring the LED lighting system over the coming months to validate the new technology, whilst investigating other suitable sites to use LED and innovative lighting technology within the other 12 tunnels on the TfL Road Network, as well as within subways and street lighting.

Projections show that the cost of lighting the Upper Thames Street tunnel could fall from around GBP 50,000 each year to less than GBP 10,000. The LED lights are expected to last for 20 years, as opposed to the existing system's two-year life span, significantly reducing the need for maintenance closures. Also, the tunnel lights will cut CO2 emissions by more than 60 per cent.

The LED system is contributing towards the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s target of a 60% reduction in the Capital’s CO2 emissions by 2025, and will deliver an estimated saving around 163 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Upper Thames Street tunnel, which opened in 1970, carries around 35,000 vehicles each day.

TfL is also currently carrying out a trial of LED street lighting at two locations across London. The trial, which is being carried out in partnership with The Climate Group, began in November 2010 and provisional results show that the system is working as well if not better that traditional street lighting and is showing potential for both maintenance and energy savings.

Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London’s Director for Environment, said: “The Mayor wants London to be firmly at the forefront of new technology used to improve quality of life.”

“Not only are these innovative lights cheaper and longer lasting, they will make the tunnel much safer for motorists and cyclists by improving visibility,” continued Ranger. “We will be keeping a close eye on this trial and I hope to see its benefits rolled out at other tunnels across the city.”

Dana Skelley, Director of Roads at TfL and Chair of the UK Lighting Board, said: “LED technology and other energy-saving methods are opportunities that all highway authorities should be looking at, as they can bring benefits both to road users and the authority.”

“We are delighted that we have now completed these works to light the first UK road tunnel solely by LED technology,” continued Skelley. “TfL is firmly embracing new lighting technologies across all modes of transport and the new system in Upper Thames Street is a firm step towards greener more efficient street lighting in London.”

Upgrading the lighting system in Upper Thames Street tunnel is just one way the Mayor and TfL are working together to make the Capital cleaner and greener. London is already leading the way on the introduction of hydrogen buses and electric vehicles while the Capital’s cycle revolution is increasing the numbers of bikes on the streets and improving cycling safety.

Subject to funding, TfL hopes that further LED-based lighting schemes can be developed across London, delivering further benefits to road users across the Capital.