Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Modernizing The Lighting on Virginia Roads

RICHMOND — New energy-efficient lighting will make nighttime driving safer on Virginia’s highways, Governor Ralph Northam said today. He announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will contract with Trane to replace more than 9,600 highway lights with light-emitting diode (LED) products, improving roadway visibility and energy efficiency.
The lighting upgrade will reduce highway lights’ energy consumption by more than 50 percent and triple the expected lifetime from five years to 15 or more years. This project is aligned with the clean energy goals the governor laid out in his 2018 Virginia Energy Plan and in Executive Order Forty-Three which he signed in September.
Key improvements of the lighting modernization project include:
  • Consuming 11 million fewer kilowatt-hours per year following replacement—enough to power roughly 16,000 refrigerators for a year
  • Resulting in an estimated 8,800-ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improving drivers’ ability to see objects at night, such as pedestrians, animals, and debris
  • Reducing crash risks as fewer light replacements mean fewer roadway work zones
  • Saving taxpayer dollars through energy efficiency and longer product life
This lighting modernization project will reduce energy use and increase road safety,” said Governor Northam. “It’s an important step forward as we work to make Virginia a leader in clean energy, and I commend VDOT and Trane on their work to improve our roadways, our communities, and our environment.”
The lighting project is expected to result in savings for the Commonwealth starting on day one, with a cumulative net savings of $4.6 million by 2036. The savings stems from lower energy bills and reduced operations and maintenance costs for future light replacement. VDOT selected LED lights to optimize road user visibility and minimize environmental impacts.

“VDOT’s collaboration with industry, health policy experts, and other stakeholders has ensured that we are delivering the highest standard of lighting that also has a minimal impact on our environment,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Virginia’s forward-thinking approach has made the Commonwealth a national model for safe and effective highway lighting.”

VDOT is funding the lighting upgrade project using the Virginia Energy Management Program’s energy performance contract option, which allows VDOT to finance infrastructure improvements using future energy and operational savings. VDOT partnered with Trane following a competitive procurement process.

“Trane has completed over $280 million in performance contracting, and successfully implemented projects for many Commonwealth of Virginia agencies,” said Larry Cummings, Marketing Leader and Strategic Partnerships at Trane. “We are proud to collaborate with VDOT to enhance the lighting levels on Virginia’s roads to improve safety and energy use.”

Light replacement will start in spring 2020. This project includes lights located on limited-access highways and associated interchanges, as well as VDOT-owned park-and-ride lots, rest areas, and weigh stations in the Richmond, Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads, and Northern Virginia districts.

Monday, January 6, 2020

VDOT Executes Contract with Trane on Energy-Efficiency Effort

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) today announced that the agency has signed a contract with Trane to replace more than 9,600 highway lights with light-emitting diode (LED) products, improving roadway visibility and energy efficiency.
Significant outcomes of this lighting modernization project will include:
  • Improving drivers’ ability to see objects at night, such as pedestrians, animals or debris
  • Reducing crash risks as fewer light replacements mean fewer roadway work zones
  • Saving taxpayer dollars through energy efficiency and longer product life
  • Consuming 11 million fewer kilowatt-hours per year following replacement
Aligned with Governor Ralph Northam’s 2018 Energy Plan and Executive Order 43, as well as the VDOT Business Plan, the lighting upgrade will reduce highway lights’ energy consumption by 50% and improve the light lifetime from five years to 15 or more years.
“I applaud Secretary Valentine and everyone at VDOT for moving forward with this great initiative that will save money, make our roads safer and at the same time be better for the environment,” said Delegate John J. Bell. “As a long-time advocate for LED implementation in Virginia, I strongly believe this initiative will have significant positive benefits for the Commonwealth and makes a statement about our commitment to being a clean-energy leader.”
This lighting project is expected to result in a cumulative net savings of $4.6 million by 2036. The savings stem from lower energy bills and reduced operations and maintenance costs for future light replacement.
VDOT is funding the lighting upgrade project using the Virginia Energy Management Program’s energy performance contract option, which allows VDOT to finance infrastructure improvements using future energy and operational savings.
“Safety is always at the forefront of our decision-making at VDOT,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “We are constantly investigating opportunities to bring innovation and cost savings to change how we do business. Today is a win for safety and sustainability, and this technology will lead to quality of life enhancements for all that travel the Commonwealth’s roadways.”
“Trane has partnered with many Virginia state agencies, successfully implementing performance contracts totaling over $280 million in the Commonwealth,” said Larry Cummings, Marketing Leader & Strategic Partnerships, Trane. “We are proud to be VDOT’s partner in this important effort to enhance lighting and improve safety on Virginia’s roads.”
Light replacement will start in spring 2020. This project includes lights located on limited-access highways and associated interchanges, as well as VDOT-owned park-and-ride lots, rest areas and weigh stations in the Richmond, Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia districts.

Innovative use of Jaws-of-Life shaves hours off of repairs

Friday, January 3, 2020

Waze Launches Snow Warning Feature Ahead Of Winter Season

RICHMOND, Va. – Waze, the platform bringing together communities on and off the road, today announced the launch of a new feature to help keep drivers safe during winter weather. Waze users globally will now be able to report, in real-time, when a road has not been plowed, and will be kept informed when they are approaching a road that has already been identified by other drivers as unplowed.
The launch of this feature is a direct result of Waze’s work with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), a Waze for Cities Data partner. With the winter season approaching, VDOT suggested that Waze create the option to better highlight snow on the road within the app. The feature will offer the Waze community of over 130 million monthly users the opportunity to be better prepared for hazardous winter weather conditions.
“One of the primary reasons we created the Waze for Cities Data program was to provide public agencies with data and insights to reduce traffic and improve the safety of their roadways,” said Dani Simons, Head of Public Sector Partnerships at Waze. “Our work with the Virginia Department of Transportation on the development of the ‘Unplowed Road’ feature perfectly exemplifies what can be accomplished when we collaborate with public sector partners to meet community needs.”   
As a Waze for Cities Data partner, VDOT plans to monitor reports coming in from Wazers, and those who are simply shoveling their driveways and sidewalks, this winter and determine how they can incorporate this data into their operations for the following winter.
“At VDOT, our people are constantly exploring innovations and new technologies with the ultimate goal of providing the best service to the residents of the Commonwealth and all those who travel our roads,” said VDOT Chief Deputy Commissioner Rob Cary. “Many use crowdsourcing in their daily lives. We wanted to explore this method of information gathering to help improve safety and better assess the conditions of our roads during winter weather. We value our partnership with Waze, and look forward to monitoring the real-time reports on road conditions and determining how best to incorporate the data into our future operations.”
The new feature is now available in over 185 countries where Waze is accessible, and can be found under “Hazards -> Weather -> Unplowed Road”. The feature highlights Waze’s commitment to helping its community across the globe navigate traffic through all driving conditions more efficiently and safely.
Waze for Cities Data is part of the Waze for Cities program, where partners can also access Waze Beacons, Waze Carpool, and solutions for managing communications with drivers and traffic during crisis situations and other major events like marathons, football championships and large concerts.
To find out more about Waze for Cities, visit http://waze.com/wazeforcities. To download the free Waze app for iOS or Android, visit http://www.waze.com/get.
About WazeWaze is where people and technology meet to solve transportation challenges. It's a platform that empowers communities to contribute road data, edit Waze maps, and carpool to improve the way we move about the world. Thanks to Wazers everywhere, Waze is able to partner with municipalities and transit authorities to reduce traffic and congestion—leveraging current infrastructure while impacting city planning. 
A world with better transportation doesn't have to be in the distant future. By harnessing the power of community to reverse negative trends in transportation, Waze can create a world where traffic is history.
About Virginia Department of TransportationThe Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for building, maintaining and operating the Commonwealth of Virginia's roads, bridges and tunnels. Virginia has the third-largest state-maintained highway system in the country with an annual budget of $6.4 Billion.