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.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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