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Solar-Powered Traffic Lights Could Be Part of Miami Storm Resilience

A flooded Miami Beach street (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Miami-Dade County has become a champion of creative solar policy over the last few years. Now one South Florida official wants to see the region’s traffic lights go off-grid.

County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava was horrified by the “mayhem” she witnessed at the metro area’s intersections after Hurricane Irma, when the lights weren’t functioning due to widespread power outages.

“Traffic is such major problem here that not having traffic lights only compounds the problem,” she recently told the Miami New Times.

Cava has written a resolution asking the county mayor’s office to look into how much it would cost to install solar-powered traffic lights, or even backup generators for signals, according to the paper. The technology exists, but hasn’t been widely adopted in the U.S., though cities in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, India and Russia utilize it, the New Times reports. Coral Springs, Florida has recently become an early stateside adopter as well, using temporary solar-powered signals in the roadway after Irma.

Miami-Dade, which is part of an ambitious Southeast Florida climate action compact, made headlines for another new solar policy in August. Although not mandated countywide, South Miami officials’ decision to ensure that new building projects include solar put the city ahead of the national curve and in the company of other early adopters like San Francisco and Santa Monica.