The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced today that it replaced approximately 50,000 street light bulbs in Chicago in 2012, nearly twice as many than it did in the previous year. The agency also dramatically reduced the backlog of street and alley light maintenance requests through increased preventative maintenance, better management and a reallocation of resources.
“By making these critical investments in maintaining our lighting infrastructure, we are making our streets and alleys safer and improving the quality of life of Chicagoans,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “While the mild weather has been a factor in reducing the number of street lights out in the city, we have made a number of changes to our methods, including better use of mapping which allows us to use grids to target our resources.”
CDOT crews have replaced approximately 50,000 street light bulbs in 2012, more than 35,000 of which were on arterial streets. This proactive investment reduces the number of instances of single light outages. In 2011, CDOT replaced about 30,000 bulbs.
As a result, the backlog of open requests to repair single street lights has been reduced from 2,100 in 2011 to approximately 500 today. The backlog of alley light repair requests went from more than 6,800 in 2011 to about 750, a reduction of approximately 89%. The backlog of requests to fix a block of lights that are out went from more than 450 to approximately 150. Service times for these repairs have also been cut in half.
Additionally, CDOT installed more than 230 blocks or approximately 2,000 individual units of new energy-efficient street lighting citywide, including new poles and fixtures, as well as more than 2,400 new alley lights this year. The department plans to relight 300 blocks of residential and arterial streets in 2013 with new poles and lights that use 33 percent less energy that traditional street lights.
Klein said that the department improved its response to calls for lighting maintenance by refining the service order intake process to correctly identify specific problems – for example, single outages versus block-long outages which are addressed by separate CDOT crews – and working with 311 to improve protocols to prevent incorrect identification of outage types.
CDOT also shifted resources from new construction to preventative maintenance, which will help reduce additional outages during inclement weather. Additionally, CDOT has mapped clusters of street light and circuit outages which are indicative of faulty infrastructure, often aged wiring. This information allows the department to use a grid system to target resources and address problems before they occur.
# # #