Public Works actively promotes the use of highly retro-reflective non-illuminated technology in traffic signal mast arm mounted street name signs. By replacing the traditional and previously existing internally illuminated signs, which use electrically energized lamps for nighttime visibility; Public Works not only decreases energy consumption by 100 percent, but also significantly decreases maintenance costs. This includes efforts due to repairing burnt-out fluorescent lamps, replacing windblown message panels, or responding to other needs unique to the internally illuminated signs. By using retro-reflective signs, the required visibility of the directional signs to the driver is maintained with no need of costly electricity, reduced materials and maintenance costs, and potential exposure to toxic chemicals existing in fluorescent lamps is eliminated.
Benefits to Environmental Resources
Since the use of retro-reflective signs has significantly reduced maintenance needs, it consequently cut a considerable amount of greenhouse gases produced from vehicle emissions and decreased the amount of fuel used in our maintenance and repair programs. Additionally, when retro-reflective signs do require replacement, they are fully recyclable and therefore benefit the environment with less waste going to landfills.
Contribution to wellbeing of DPW and the County
It is common to see burnt out fluorescent lamps with the traditional internally illuminated street name signs. When this occurs, the visibility and legibility of these signs is greatly reduced during nighttime driving. This leads to driver frustration and stress. Retro-reflective signs provide ample legibility and brightness, without the occurrences of lamps burning out. Also, the traditional fluorescent lamps contain toxic chemicals. The retro-reflective signs do not contain such toxic chemicals, and therefore, overall health and wellbeing of DPW employees is improved.
Contribution to Economic Health
The use of retro-reflective signs decreases energy consumption by 100%, equating to a cost saving of $96,000 per year in electricity alone. Also, it eliminates the maintenance of fluorescent lamps and greatly reduced maintenance efforts overall that translates to a maintenance cost saving of $78,000 per year. As a result, the total annual estimated cost savings is $174,000 for the 1,200 retro-reflective signs that were installed at the County owned traffic signals.