ArcWatch: Your e-Magazine for GIS News, Views, and Insights

February 2011

Esri Technology Helps Traffic Lights in Philadelphia "Go Green"

Savings for City Expected to Reach $1 Million per Year

By Jim Baumann
Esri Writer

The City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is using Esri's ArcGIS software system to implement its LED Traffic Lights Project. This is an ambitious traffic light replacement program funded in part by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The city's Department of Streets uses ArcGIS to track and manage the project, which involves replacing 87,000 incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Estimated operational savings are expected to top $1 million per year and result from significantly lower use of electricity and the longevity of LED bulbs, which means bulbs need to be replaced less often.

In addition to saving money and field personnel time, Philadelphia's enterprise implementation of the system provides 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, 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 projects of their own."

Esri partner geographIT developed a customized 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. The department also uses the application to capture asset data about traffic signal heads, traffic control boxes, and light and sign pole attachments such as stop and yield signs.

Watch a video called The Recovery Act Is "Lighting Up" the Streets of Philadelphia. In it, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and other city and federal government officials talk about the program's significance.

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