Traffic Light Project Using ArcGIS Saves Philadelphia $1 Million per Year

ArcGIS SoftwareThe City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is using Esri’s ArcGIS software system to implement its LED Traffic Lights Project, an ambitious traffic light replacement program funded in part by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant. With ArcGIS, the city’s Department of Streets will track and manage the project, which will result in replacing 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.

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 [geographic information system] projects of their own.”

The department employed a consultant to develop 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. 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.

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