Halogen Bulb Replacement Programme

Details of the programme to replace halogen bulbs with the latest LED technology.


In 2010, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) conducted several trials with the latest Light-Emitting Diode (LED) technology which proved to be successful in both cost savings and environmental benefits; resulting in the decision that design standards going forward require all new sites or site refurbishments to use the LED technology. This has resulted in 99 of the councils traffic signal junctions and 296 traffic signals crossings being successfully converted to LED technology with great benefits.

In 2022, manufacturing of halogen bulbs (the bulbs used prior to LED) stopped due to lack of demand. To ensure that WSCC meet the obligations to keep all traffic signals operating safely and efficiently, it is crucial that we undertake a project to convert the remaining bulbs to the new, more efficient technology.

From the remaining halogen bulb traffic signals sites in West Sussex, 14 crossings and 9 junctions have already been identified for improvements through developer led projects to improve sections of the highway within the county. This leaves 9 junctions and 85 crossings that will form the ‘Halogen Bulb Replacement Programme’ which will be carried out over the next three years.

Why we are doing this work

The project will contribute significantly towards WSCC pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030, by delivering an 11% energy and carbon reduction value of the total traffic signals usage.

If we were to not undertake the Halogen Bulb Replacement Project, ultimately the remaining halogen traffic sites, which keep the public safe, would need to be switched off. This would create vehicle congestion, cause unsafe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists and prevent users, such as those visually impaired, from using their normal routes.

The increasing pressure on the WSCC maintenance budget, paired with the ongoing rise in energy costs, has prompted us to develop strategies to ensure that the traffic signals can be maintained in more affordable ways. The implementation of this project would generate a revenue saving of approximately £44,249 per annum.

What we are doing

The project will replace all the West Sussex County Council-owned traffic signals that are not already LED.

Along with upgrading the halogen bulbs to LED, we are also using this opportunity to address any additional upgrades required to the crossing locations. This will see the crossing location conditions improved to the latest WSCC standards.

Each site will be assessed individually and improvements will be carried out where required, for example, updating road markings, clearing of vegetation and footway repairs. This will reduce cost, minimise disruption in the crossing area in the future and improve user experience for WSCC residents.

The project

The replacement of existing halogen bulb traffic signals with LED bulbs has commenced and is planned to take three years to complete.

The programme is planned to cover all remaining 9 junctions and 85 crossings and is subject to change if extenuating circumstances occur, such as unforeseen events which result in a particular site needed to be upgraded ahead of its planned date.

Programme delivery map

Select the delivery map link below which will identify the current sites and those that are due for upgrade, with approximate timescales and progress.

Highways Delivery Programme map

Frequently asked questions

Why is West Sussex County Council doing this?

WSCC Traffic Signals team has been notified by the traffic signals maintenance supplier, Telent, that the manufacture of halogen bulbs stopped in September 2022 due to diminishing demand. To ensure WSCC meet their obligations to keep the traffic signals in a safe and working condition it is essential that an LED conversion programme is implemented.

What is WSCC changing?

The programme will change the 9 junctions and 85 crossings that have been identified to remove the reliance on halogen bulbs.

Converting to LED’s is not simple. This is due to technical and practical issues, including legal requirements to monitor the lights and associated built-in-safety. Therefore, the programme will refurbish the sites to meet the latest standards, introducing all new equipment and technology thus ensuring the sites have a 20 year life expectancy and fully comply to the latest signal standards.

There will be no change to the location of the junctions and crossings.

How will this project impact on the climate?

The project has been developed to support WSCC's climate pledge to reduce carbon emissions. It is estimated that once the three year conversion programme has been completed, there will be a reduction in carbon emissions of 49.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The introduction of LED technology will reduce the on-going running costs and will contribute towards the council’s carbon reduction targets, equating to an 11% saving of the total traffic signals usage. Using the current energy rate, this would generate a revenue saving of £44,249 per annum.

How much will the project cost?

The overall cost is estimated to be £6.48 million.

How will the project be funded?

The Halogen Bulb Replacement Project was presented at Full Council in February 2023 where the decision was approved to allocate the required 6.5 million pound capital allocation across the 2023/24 to 2027/28 financial years.

Why are the traffic signals in West Sussex only recently being changed to LED?

LED traffic signal heads are only a very recent development within the industry. In September 2010, following a period of successful trials, WSCC approved the use of LED traffic signals and developed new traffic signals design standards, requiring all new sites or full site refurbishments to use LED technology. Since then, any sites which have been refurbished will have undergone LED conversions to benefit from the energy and cost savings.

What does a LED traffic signal look like?

Halogen and LED traffic signals
Image 1. Halogen bulb traffic signal head. Image 2. LED traffic signal head

Will you be digging up the road again?

Yes, in addition to upgrading the halogen bulbs to LED, WSCC is using this opportunity to carry out a comprehensive refurbishment programme to address any additional upgrades identified to the crossing locations. This will see the crossing location conditions improved to the latest WSCC standards.

Each site will be assessed individually and improvements will be carried out where required, for example, updating road markings, clearing vegetation and footway repairs. This will reduce cost, minimise disruption in the crossing area in the future and improve user experience for WSCC residents.

How long will the new LED bulbs last?

An LED bulb is still a new advancement in traffic signal technology. The typical life cycle of a traffic signals site is around 20 years. However, during the earlier trials, industry led testing and inspections has been undertaken indicating a typical life expectancy of an LED blub to be around 10 years, which means earlier trial sites of LEDs and any sites upgraded since are still yet to be fully replaced as they’ve not yet reached end of life.

It is possible for them to last longer as failure rates are subject to many factors, which is why they are only replaced as needed and are not currently subject to bulk bulb change regimes.

Halogen bulbs on the other hand, only have a 12-18 month life expectancy, which is why these are currently replaced annually.

How do you know LED is reliable now?

WSCC conducted several trials from 2008 to 2010 with the then latest technology and controller monitoring systems. These proved to be successful and in September 2010 new WSCC traffic signals design standards were released, requiring all new sites or current signal site full refurbishments to use LED technology.

What is the Remote Monitoring System and how it will help?

The introduction of a Remote Monitoring System (RMS) will enable WSCC to remotely monitor traffic signals. The introduction of an RMS system will provide the following benefits:

  • Remote notification of faults direct from site to the RMS which is monitored by both the WSCC traffic signals team and Telent (the maintenance contractor), which will improve asset management and allow timely intervention to act on the faults to reduce delays on the network.
  • Provide the ability for the WSCC signals team to monitoring and alter site operation remotely, including the addition of new functionality to monitor performance and usage of each site.
  • RMS, when combined with live CCTV capabilities at junctions, will allow greater control and enable the signals team to monitor and alter the signals as required more responsively.
  • Support improvements to bus priority throughout the county through network sharing with bus service providers.

Is it true that the LED lights are too bright according to reports?

All new lighting in West Sussex must be designed to ensure that it meets the relevant lighting standard. This also applies to the Halogen Bulb Replacement Programme. This results in roads not being over lit and it makes best use of energy.

When will my area have LED traffic signals fitted?

The project will be carried out over the county during the next three years.

Please see the Highways Delivery Programme map as a guide to areas and when they will be done. Some areas in West Sussex already have LED traffic signal bulbs installed and these will not be changed.

Last updated:
20 December 2023
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