The Paris subway system has been experimenting with LED lighting for four years, and in 2011 committed to move to 100 percent LEDs system-wide. Here's a progress report.
Contracts, worth 11 million Euros, were announced last March by RATP, the company that runs the Paris transport network. The tender from RATP was divided into six lots. Five of these were awarded to a partnership between Philips and the French lighting company Solutions Techniques d'Eclairage Professionnel, known as Step. (A division of Philips, Lumileds, sponsors this site.) The sixth lot went to French semiconductor company Soitec.
The scale of the undertaking is impressive. RATP runs 302 Metro stations and 66 RER (suburban) stations in and around Paris. In total there are over 1 million square meters to light from 250,000 fixtures.
Station conversions began in April with Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station in central Paris. The plan is to switch over one hundred Metro and RER stations each year from 2013 until 2017.
RATP expects to save half of the money they now spend on lighting, which amounts to 19 percent of the company's energy budget. The LED conversion thus contributes a large share towards RATP's overall goal of shaving 15 percent off of its total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In addition, maintenance costs on the lighting should be slashed 80 percent because of the longer-lived LEDs.
LUX Review recently put together a video on the project, embedded here. In it, RATP's Gil Reimenschneider mentions that transport networks in London, Brussels, and Sydney are closely following the Paris developments.
The existing lighting in Metro stations consists mostly of fluorescent tubes, in six sizes. They will be replaced by Philips "Master LED" tubes with special rotating end pieces that were custom-developed for this project.
Reimenschneider said that a goal of the project is to be transparent to average travelers on the system. RATP has done surveys indicating that 92 percent of passengers in fact noticed no difference in the LED-lit stations from the traditional ones.
The final stages of the LED conversion, after Metro and suburban stations are completed, will be to switch over tram lines, office buildings, industrial sites, workshops, and maintenance depots to LED lighting.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting