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The science of street lights: what makes people feel safe at night

1 month ago   SOS   Motueka   36 views Reference: 14661

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Location: Motueka


Some studies suggest that new outdoor lighting can reduce crime rates in an area, but there is conflicting evidence on this. A large review of research found a link between new lighting and reduced crime rates, but improvements were seen in daylight as well as darkness, suggesting that solar led street light is not the only factor. This review has also been criticised by other researchers, and a large statistical analysis found no link between crime rates and switching off or dimming street lighting at night.

The skyglow from street lights also means we rarely get to see the true wonder of the night sky, frustrating astronomers and limiting our appreciation of the natural environment. For these reasons, lighting should be used selectively and efficiently – and this requires good guidance to help those responsible for installing and maintaining our street lighting.

Today, average illuminance is the main measure used when installing and evaluating led street light. But we found that, while increasing average illuminance was linked with improved feelings of safety, uniformity was more important for making people feel safe. So it might be more important to have evenly distributed lighting, rather than bright lighting, to make people feel safer.

Financial and carbon reduction incentives have prompted many local authorities to reduce AIO Solar LED Street Light at night. Debate on the public health implications has centred on road accidents, fear of crime and putative health gains from reduced exposure to artificial light. However, little is known about public views of the relationship between reduced street lighting and health. We undertook a rapid appraisal in eight areas of England and Wales using ethnographic data, a household survey and documentary sources. Public concern focused on road safety, fear of crime, mobility and seeing the night sky but, for the majority in areas with interventions, reductions went unnoticed. However, more private concerns tapped into deep-seated anxieties about darkness, modernity ‘going backwards’, and local governance. Pathways linking lighting reductions and health are mediated by place, expectations of how localities should be lit, and trust in local authorities to act in the best interests of local communities.

Many local authorities responsible for LED Street Lighting Solar have reduced street lighting at night, a policy primarily driven by requirements to reduce costs and carbon emissions under the Climate Change Act 2008 (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DeFRA), 2011), but also with considerations of contributing to reductions in environmental light pollution (The Royal Commission of Environmental Light Pollution, 2009). A rapid growth of technological innovations over the last 20 years has enabled greater control over the colour, intensity and switching on schedules of public lighting stock (Shaw, 2014a), and local lighting authorities across England and Wales have adopted a wide range of interventions.


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