City upgrades beacons, increases safety in school zones


With kids going back to school, that means drivers need to start paying more attention to school zones in the morning and afternoon.

The city has taken steps to ensure the kids stay safe with its new safety beacon technology, just in time for school

“We probably got less calls on the first day of school than we ever have," said Steve Henry, City of Savannah traffic engineer.

That's because the city upgraded the 59 flashing beacons around the city with new smart technology.

“We can actually see the locations. We get alerts if a lamp goes out or if we have a power failure," said Henry.

Henry is able to monitor the lights in real time which differs from the old system.

“We had to rely on phone calls. Hey the flasher isn’t working.," he said. "A lot of times we’d drive out and determine it wasn’t supposed to be on at this time. Or we’d come up on a bulb that we’d never heard about that had been out for weeks.”

Now if there's an issue, it's a quick fix.

“If we have to make a change on the fly we can do it, remotely, he said.

Whether the students are coming or going, that little flashing light means a lot to parents who just want their kids to be as safe as possible.

“This is my son’s first year at East Broad Street School, so I’m a little nervous," said Dominique Brown, mother of a kindergarten student.

The safety feature gives her some peace of mind.

“The kids are a lot safer now," she said.

Greater safety is exactly what the city was hoping for.

“Before we were reactive and now we’re proactive and I think from a safety standpoint, that’s exactly where we want to be," said Henry.

“And I’m glad of that. I’m just a proud mom," said Brown.

A proud mom who knows her little one is now a little safer.

The same smart beacon technology is currently being installed on state routes by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

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