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So there it is… let there be light across Detroit!

September 28, 2015



The city of Detroit has undergone a lighting renaissance as of late.

“This technology will enable us to collaborate with the city to improve public safety capabilities and the efficiency of city services, with the added benefit of providing a platform for corporate leaders to advance their research and development,” said Public Lighting Authority CEO, Odis Jones.

Recently, the PLA board of directors unanimously decided to explore the next step to implement a city-wide smart grid system, as it is rebuilding the city’s street lighting system.

Neighborhoods on both the east and west side are now home to new LED street lights. The new lights have been strategically placed to help better improve visibility and deter crime across the city.

“This is about good government and building a system that will help to fuel economic growth well into the future in our city,” said Jones.

Some benefits the board of directors discussed regarding implementing smart grid technology with the LED street lights include:

Provide a city-wide wireless communication platform for other Smart City devises such as environmental sensors, traffic signal controls, public safety surveillance devices, wireless internet options for residents and more

Interest expressed from the automotive industry for a variety of features, including utilization of the system to help test driverless vehicles in the city, as urban area testing is key for the research and development process Improved operational efficiency and maintenance for street lights

The PLA has piloted programs with both ShotSpotter and Sensity to test smart grid efficiency and promise over the last year for knowledge transfer and industry focus purposes.

“From the beginning, our Board has always been focused on playing a role in improving the quality of life for residents in the City of Detroit,” said PLA Board Chair Lorna Thomas, M.D. “We’re working to have the most modern system in the country, all while providing Detroiters with the reliable street lighting they deserve. The opportunities that the smart grid can unlock are endless. This is certainly a step in the right direction for our community.”

Jones said that the implementation of the PLA’s smart grid will begin immediately and will be completed by the end of 2016. Once fully implemented, Detroit will be the largest city in America to have the citywide Smart Grid System – covering all of the city’s 143 square miles.

Before the PLA started its work, approximately 40 percent of the street lights in Detroit didn’t work. The PLA’s goal is to complete relighting all neighborhoods in Detroit by the end of 2015 and all major thoroughfares by the end of 2016 with 65,000 new LED street lights.

Real Times Media