ALBANY, NY May 15, 2020 – The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) commissioned the development of the Municipal Smart City Street Light Conversion & Evolving Technology Guidebook as part of their Smart Communities Program. CDTC began working with the City of Saratoga Springs in 2019 to identify appropriate “smart” street light infrastructure and technology. CDTC launched the Smart Communities program in 2018 to explore strategies for becoming a “Smart Region,” that is, a region that uses data, applications, and technology to help people and goods move more efficiently.

The Guidebook was developed with a consultant team led by Planning4Places with the International Nightime Design Initiative. As cities and towns across the region grapple with the choice of converting their street lights to energy-saving LED bulbs, there are numerous factors to consider and balance, like lighting quality, safety, digital infrastructure, and finances. With a thriving downtown night-life and historical importance, the City of Saratoga Springs presents an excellent test-case for how to create safe and sustainable nighttime environments through a lighting strategy. As the City implements its Smart City Roadmap, this is a critical piece and can open opportunities for the inclusion of other technologies like electric vehicle charging, public WiFi, and data collection capabilities to aid public safety and other service operations.

“Working on the guidebook led to a clearer understanding of the benefits of smart street lighting and LED conversion. New street lighting technology can improve public safety, make our neighborhoods and downtown safer and more sustainable, and provide better public services such as access to free wireless internet,” states Mayor Meg Kelly. “Making large investments in infrastructure will be difficult in the coming year, but this guidebook lays the framework of next steps as we consider our options.”

As CDTC looks to update its long-range transportation plan, New Visions, developing a transportation system that best meets the needs of current and future residents and visitors is its highest priority. This guidebook provides much needed guidance on LED street light conversion, but also outlines how lighting design can be part of a regional strategy of improving mobility, safety, and quality of life. As technology develops and evolves, CDTC will continue to evaluate how it can be leveraged to improve the transportation system, and what kind of planning support local communities need to implement these projects, said Michael V. Franchini, Executive Director.

CDTC is currently inviting the public to comment on the draft long-range transportation plan, New Visions 2050, which outlines investment principles for building a resilient and technologically-advanced transportation system for the Capital Region over the next 30 years. The final LED guidebook, as well as the Draft New Visions 2050 Plan and other materials can be found on the CDTC website, www.cdtcmpo.org. Questions or comments can be emailed to newvisions@cdtcmpo.org.

CDTC is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, its metropolitan transportation planning process on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, or economic status, as protected by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes and regulations. You may request additional information by contacting CDTC at 1 Park Place, Colonie, New York 12205; ej@cdtcmpo.org; or 518-458-2161.