Harris County Traffic Lights Turn 'Green'

Harris County will soon convert its traffic signals from incandescent to LED lights. The City of Houston already made the switch to the more energy-efficient bulbs. Now the county follows suit.

LED lights are more expensive to buy, but save money in the long run. Harris County Engineering Spokeswoman Dimetra Hamilton says the LED lights will save the county about $2,000 a year, per traffic signal.

"We won't have to replace them as often. Maybe seven to eight years, versus the lights that we have now — we replace them annually. And also it will save on electric bills. The cost-savings are phenomenal compared to what we pay right now."

Hamilton says it's also easier to repair the LEDs and keep them operational during power outages.

"Also the engineers right now at the county are looking into battery back-ups for the intersections so that we can prevent the traffic signals from going all the way dark."

Harris County maintains about 880 traffic signals outside the purview of the City of Houston's lights. Hamilton says the county will phase in the new lights whenever old lights need to be replaced.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...