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LED street lightsA feature of this NLTP is the burgeoning interest from road controlling authorities in replacing inefficient road lighting with LED lighting. Urban areas, in particular, will benefit from lower electricity and maintenance costs.

A revolution in street-lighting technology is taking hold across New Zealand as the 370,000 high-pressure sodium lights currently lining our roads are replaced with low-energy, light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

LED street lights come on instantly, last up to six times longer than high pressure-sodium and are shock and vibration-proof, which makes them perfect for windy locations. They contain no harmful substances and provide better colour differentiation and visibility. This makes them safer for vehicles, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists and more economical to operate. An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)-commissioned report estimates that switching to LED could save the country $10m in operational costs each year.

Other advantages include the ability to dim or direct lights as required and other features, such as lights that report their own faults or that can be dimmed once the evening peak is over.

The Transport Agency is fast-tracking co-investment with local authorities in LED street-lighting. A 2015 rule change by the Transport Agency means that local authorities can replace existing road lights with LED immediately, rather than wait until they reach the end of their useful life. A number of conversion programmes are likely to start as part of the 2015-18 NLTP.