Traffic Light Project Using ArcGIS to save Energy… and $1 Million per year

As someone who is all about reducing my ‘carbon footprint’, I was very inspired to hear about this energy-saving initiative taking place in the US.

In yet another innovative example of location intelligence being used to improve efficiencies, the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is using Esri’s ArcGIS software system to implement its LED Traffic Lights Project. The LED Traffic Lights Project is an ambitious traffic light replacement program which will track and manage the replacement of 87,000 incandescent lightbulbs with energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

Estimated operational savings resulting from significantly lower use of electricity, the greater longevity of LED bulbs, and the fixed department costs to replace bulbs are expected to top $1 million per year.

 It’s not just about saving energy, time and money though – this project is also set to provide important data access to other departments within the city, resulting in a significant return on investment.

 “The opportunity to capture the asset data for the light replacement project and use it for other applications within the Department of Streets and share it with other departments saves the city a considerable amount of time and money,” says Andy Mehos, the GIS manager for the Department of Streets. “It is significant enough to offset any cost of software development and the purchase of equipment. After observing our success in implementing this project, other city departments are considering similar GIS [geographic information system] projects of their own.”

 So how is it done? The department employed a consultant to develop a customised GIS application integrated with ArcGIS that supplies a spatially enabled mobile solution for tracking street-related city assets. The application’s bar code scanning capability provides a quick way to add an LED bulb record to the geodatabase while in the field. In addition to LED bulbs, the department is capturing asset data about traffic heads, traffic control boxes, and light and sign pole attachments with the application.

 Would love to see something like this happen in Australia. Any volunteers?

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out this video about the light replacement program, called: The Recovery Act Is “Lighting Up” the Streets of Philadelphia.

 - Alicia S.

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