King County Metro Transit is one of the largest transit systems in the country, and its network of more than 8,000 bus stops and 1,800 bus stop shelters is growing!
Metro’s employees are using solar power as a climate- and budget-friendly solution to providing lighting at bus shelters.
Solar lighting is being installed in about 50 new shelters each year, as well as in another 50 shelters through refurbishment. “Solar shelter lighting helps us address safety concerns without incurring the cost and climate impacts of hard-wired electrical infrastructure,” said Dale Cummings, King County Transit Planner and project manager for the shelter lighting improvements.
In addition to the 100 new fittings each year, 230 existing shelters with solar lighting are being upgraded for Metro by Urban Solar Corp., Metro’s solar lighting supplier. The upgrades include new controllers to standardize systems and improve battery life, brighter light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, and new battery harnesses.
The new harnesses are another example of Metro’s team embracing innovation to deliver important services to commuters. Brian Cady, Chief of Power Distribution, proposed a maintenance simplification and led the design of a plug-and-play system that could be replaced safely and quickly when needed, greatly reducing time spent on ladders in busy bus zones. “I love the prewired batteries, plug in harness, and the flip-up battery cover that stays up with no worries of dropping near customers,” said John Campagnaro, Metro electrician.
Prior to receiving upgrades, sites are reviewed for light levels, ridership, known security issues, maintenance history, and complaints about poor lighting from either customers or operators.