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Tempe Bus Shelter Pilot Project Tests Out Sun-Reflecting Film

Arizona State University is working with 3M on a pilot project to lower the temperatures at bus shelters in Tempe. Ahead of installing new shelters throughout the city, Tempe began researching methods to keep the spaces cooler while riders wait for the bus — and that led to a collaboration with ASU and 3M.

David Sailor is a professor at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at ASU. He says researchers are applying a film made by 3M to several bus shelters and measuring the results.

"These surfaces are very good at reflecting the energy of the sun and emitting their own energy,” Sailor said.

So not only is the film able to keep the sun off the structure, it also helps to keep the structure cool. Sailor says they are studying the process and comparing it against a control group.

While researchers can’t release the results yet, he says it looks promising, and the hope is the film could be used on much larger scale projects.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.