New LED Stoplights to Save Huntington $200K

1/31/2012 / Parthenon

Huntington motorists will soon see a decrease in the amount of time they spend sitting
at traffic lights. The City of Huntington began installing the light system in Fall
2011. David Hagley, public works directors, said the new light system would be installed
at 55 intersections by the end of 2012. The light system has been commonly referred
to as a “smart system.” There are no bulbs — the traffic lights and displays are
all energy efficient LED lighting. “All new lights will be LED, all communication
will be controlled wirelessly from the Rahall Transportation Institute,” Hagley
said. The new system will alleviate problems experienced with the old traffic system.
Each new light will communicate wirelessly. In the past, wires have not adapted
to years of wear and tear. “Over time, wires were severed and broke down,” Hagley
said. “The old lights had sensor wires in the pavement that were easily torn up.”
Aside from communicating wirelessly, the new light system would have a camera system
that will sense traffic patterns. Hagley said the system will make for a safer commute,
drivers will be less aggravated, as sitting at a pointless red light will be a thing
of the past. “It should alleviate frustrations,” Hagley said. “There are camera
sensors that will get people moving through red lights. There will be less idle
time ’cause the lights are going to work as a system instead of individually.” Hagley
said aside from cutting down road rage, less idle time in traffic means the new
system will cut down harmful emissions. Kim Wolfe, Huntington mayor said the new
lights are going to save the city quite a bit of money. “There will be approximately
a $200,000 savings in energy costs, ’cause these are the modern LED lighting,” Wolfe
said. “Fewer repairs on the smart system would also save the city in labor costs.”
Wolfe said the new system is being funded by an air quality grant. The wireless
communication allows the city to direct traffic flow for disasters or special events
from one location. The lights have been installed at major intersections downtown.
Hagley said the system will improve the overall commuting experience for Huntington.
“It’s going to make things better,” Wolfe said. “I’m glad to see the improvement
coming.”