February 21, 2024   

"Let There Be LED Light" at NYC Subway Stations 2024 02 Let there be LED Lights NYC Subway.jpg

Photo credit:  New York City Transit

Billed as a "System-Wide Safety Upgrade", MTA aims to switch 150,000 lights to LED


In a development that led one New York City lighting person we know to ask, "What the %$#& is taking so long?" New York City Transit has announced plans to complete the switch from fluorescent light sources to LED across its subway system by mid-2026. This upgrade aims to enhance the illumination of every subway platform, mezzanine and staircase, thereby increasing safety throughout the system and improving the customer experience.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is set on a comprehensive transformation, aiming to convert all remaining 150,000 fluorescent light fixtures to LED. This initiative, being billed by MTA as a "System-Wide Safety Upgrade" promises to not only brighten subway stations but also improve the visibility for the system's 15,000 security cameras, thus reinforcing safety.

During a Tuesday press conference, Richard Davey, President of New York City Transit, highlighted the benefits of this lighting upgrade, linking brighter stations directly to increased safety and noting the positive feedback from customers at stations already upgraded as part of the Re-NEW-Vation program.


Initiated in late January 2024, the project started with upgrades at Bergen Street, Carroll Street, and Lafayette Avenue, where new LED lighting was showcased. This transition is anticipated to save approximately $5.9 million annually in energy and maintenance costs, aligning with the broader goals of the Re-NEW-Vation project, which includes station repairs, enhancements, and deep cleanings across the subway system.


In addition to the broad conversion initiative, specific stations have begun incorporating advanced LED solutions into existing infrastructure. A notable example, showcased in the news report above, involves the retrofitting of 4-foot LED tubes into the subway system's longstanding tamper-proof fluorescent fixtures. This approach not only leverages the durability of the existing fixtures but also enhances their efficiency, longevity and light output with the LED sources.

Specialty lighting manufacturers like Long Island’s Apogee Lighting are often at the forefront of transit lighting projects, providing vandal-proof and tamper-proof LED fixtures designed for the demanding conditions of subway stations. The old fluorescent fixtures or newer LED luminaires are tailored for extreme environments and offer high durability, customization options and significant energy efficiency.


Apogee-LED-Station lighting.jpeg

Photo credit:  Apogee Lighting  |  LED luminaires illuminate a modern MTA subway platform


Shanifah Rieara, MTA Chief Customer Officer, assured riders of the widespread impact of this initiative, promising a brighter environment across all subway stations. Demetrius Crichlow, Senior Vice President of Subways at New York City Transit, commended the dedicated transit workers for their role in installing these efficient LEDs, emphasizing the project's contribution to a safer and more sustainable subway system.

As the fluorescent lights fade on an era of subway illumination, New York City Transit's leap into the LED future promises to cast a brighter, safer and more energy-efficient glow on the daily commutes of millions.