Tight budgets and limited financial resources make it difficult for state governments to provide the variety of services the traveling public has come to expect. Phillip Lowery, director of state government at Johnson Controls, answers questions about the challenges that face Departments of Transportation (DoT).
Q: Welcome to a world where everything is smart, safe, comfortable and sustainable. What does this vision mean for the Department of Transportation?
PHILLIP LOWERY: In most states the DoT is responsible for the development and operation of highways, railroads, mass transit systems, ports, waterways and aviation facilities in their state. With these responsibilities come demands for efficiency, comfort, security and the need to control and maintain an enormous number of assets that consume large amounts of energy. As a result, the department seeks to design, manage and install energy efficiency measures and smart technology that boost performance infrastructure, reduce energy usage and ensure a comfortable, safe and sustainable environment for the traveling public.
Q: How does the DoT use “smart” technology to connect all of these assets?
PL: Multiple assets create multiple opportunities for the application of “smart” technology. Lighting is a perfect example. In addition to producing illumination, smart, connected lights become nodes capable of sending and receiving communications as they connect law enforcement and emergency services for more secure highways, streets and transportation facilities. Lighted signs provide drivers with information related to road and weather conditions, and new LED lights improve the quality of light as they significantly reduce energy consumption.
Q: You mentioned security in your two previous responses. With the Johnson Controls and Tyco merger, the new company now has one of the most comprehensive security portfolios. What most excites you around safety and security?
PL: The DoT is responsible for the safety and security of staff, passengers and others who use our transportation systems and facilities. The Johnson Controls and Tyco merger brings additional expertise in the area of fire and safety to boost performance infrastructure, enhance our product offerings and services and contribute to safer, more sustainable environments.
Q: So often, safety and security are linked to comfort. How important is comfort to the DoT?
PL: Comfort is probably most important, as it relates to passenger comfort and the comfort of those using our airports, train stations and mass transit systems. Intelligent, optimized HVAC systems instantaneously respond to changes in temperature and environment to maintain comfort levels and enhance the travel experience, while also reducing energy costs.
Q: In addition to comfort and security, have sustainability and “green” become expectations in the industry?
PL: State budgets are tight, but the demands for improved services continue to grow. As a result, Departments of Transportation are taking a comprehensive approach to managing energy in their facilities and across their infrastructure, lowering costs, enhancing communities and lessening the impact on the environment.
Phillip Lowery, Director, State Government, North America
As national director of state government, Phillip is responsible for growing the state government market for SSNA, including General Services, the Department of Transportation and Department of Corrections. Phillip earned an MBA from Texas Tech University, an MS degree from Clemson University, and a BA degree from the University of North Carolina.
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