Case Study: Easily Managing 210 School Zone Beacons

Western Systems partnered with Ada County, Idaho, to provide a Connected School Beacon System.

About Application

Background: 210 School Zone Beacons in Ada County, Idaho

Ada County is Idaho’s largest County, with a population of over 400,000 people.  In addition, they have 137 public schools which serve over 75,000 students.

To help students across the County arrive and depart school safely, the County has 210 flashing beacons. These flashing beacons are highly effective tools for slowing driver speeds and increasing awareness in school zones.

But for the County, managing all these school zone beacons is no easy task. And when the goal is keeping children safe—the stakes are high.

The Challenge: Manual Scheduling and Frequent Maintenance

With over 210 beacons to maintain, the County was struggling to keep up with maintenance and scheduling. Each beacon requires frequent maintenance and scheduling updates which can be a time-consuming process as they have to be manually programmed onsite.

Without any kind of remote monitoring capabilities, it made maintenance very reactive.  Often times the public would call in to notify the County of beacon issues. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the need for a smarter and more efficient way to monitor, maintain and program the County’s school zone beacons.

The Solution: Western Systems Provides a Remote Cloud-Based System

Western Systems worked with Ada County to add the Applied Information 500-070 school beacon timer switch and cellular modem.

The new AI-500-070 units provide an easy way for the County to monitor vital school zone beacon information remotely, including AC power, lamps, battery backup, cabinet doors, local override control and temperature.

The unit works in conjunction with the Glance Platform, providing a cloud-based solution that enables scheduling and smart alerts (email & text messages) based on user-defined criteria.

Outcome: Streamlined Efficiencies and Noticeable Improvements

In less than 3 weeks, the County was able to install all 210 units and get up and running on the Glance software.

“The new AI units along with the Glance software have been a gamechanger for us,” shared Greg Fullerton, Traffic Operations Superintendent, ADA County Highway District. “We can now easily monitor and manage all our beacons remotely, which translates into time and cost savings for the County.”

The remote monitoring and alerts at each beacon has drastically improved the amount of time the County was spending on maintenance and scheduling. In addition, the remote monitoring has also enabled Ada County to be proactive in maintaining the beacons – reducing the number of calls from the public.

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