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10. Preliminary Conclusions and Recommendations

It is very likely that LED traffic signals will continue to grow in use in lighting applications throughout North America and the world, due in large part to the potential for significant energy savings that they furnish. Technological and market forces appear to be in alignment. LEDs are popular, and interest in their progress is widespread. However, before they become as well- recognized and widely used as incandescent lamps have been for 70 years in traffic signals, key market players and decision makers are encouraged to consider the following recommendations:

  • Develop methods for objectively and fairly comparing technologies. Existing standards for traffic signals are based on a single technology, the incandescent lamp. Other sources, like LEDs, have very different operating characteristics but might still provide adequate safety, reliability and visibility if the methods for comparing performance are not tied to any one technology.
  • Explore the system efficacy concept. Light sources that are primarily directional in nature, like LEDs, should not be compared to others strictly on a lumen-per-watt basis, but rather according to their efficiency at producing light in a specific direction.
  • Identify life-cycle costs of LED applications. Simple payback can be a tool for very crude estimates of cost savings using LED traffic signals, but often do not take into account other important factors such as maintenance and labor costs, life, and the time value of money throughout the life cycle. Life-cycle cost analysis can result in better, more accurate estimates and can identify those factors which are most important to understanding life-cycle costs.
  • Develop priorities for power and operating environment research. Prioritizing issues can avoid the costs of redundant research and allow organizations to pool information and resources that can be used later to develop effective applications for LEDs.
  • Employ caution and restraint in encouraging LED lighting applications. LED technologies are evolving rapidly and the number of LED applications is growing exponentially. Allowing the end-use market to catch up to the evolution in technology may permit more systematic product innovations and perhaps increase long-term growth. Also, a short-term conservative approach can help avoid problems that often occur with light source introductions; in the long-term, developing a good reputation for reliability and consistency is very important.

The LRC Lighting Transformations Program participants hope that this issues and options paper will serve as a catalyst for developing new options and exploring these issues in a systematic and proactive manner.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION
2. TRAFFIC SIGNALS
3. CODES AND SPECIFICATIONS
4. ENERGY
5. COST
6. VISIBILITY
7. OPERATION: POWER AND ENVIRONMENT
8. MARKET ISSUES: SUPPLY AND DEMAND
9. OTHER APPLICATIONS
10. PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
11. REFERENCES
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