The Purpose of Street Lighting.

Why we do what we do.
25 January 2016

At Cosmiqo, we develop technology that audits how bright the roads are by measuring the intensity of street lights. We do this by collecting quite a lot of data, wirelessly streaming it back to our cloud platform and processing this information through our analytics engine. We call this technology Litesense®.

The principal purpose of street lighting is to produce quick, accurate and comfortable visibility at night. These qualities of visibility may safeguard, facilitate and encourage vehicular and pedestrian traffic. When good visibility is provided through lighting, efficient night use can be made of the large investments in roadways and motor vehicles. Thus, the proper use of street lighting as an operative tool provides economic and social benefits to the public such as:

  1. reduction in night accidents, attendant human misery and economic loss
  2. aid to police protection and enhanced sense of personal security
  3. facilitation of traffic flow
  4. promotion of business and the use of public facilities during the night hours

Visual components of the driving task

In order to drive a vehicle on a paved roadway with reasonable confidence, speed and safety, a driver must visually determine the following:

  1. that the pavement ahead is clear of defects and obstacles at a reasonable distance
  2. the locations of the lane or roadway edges
  3. the location and meaning of the traffic control devices and signs that affect the “rules of the road”
  4. the present location and future course of moving objects on or near the roadway
  5. the present position of the driver’s own vehicle relative to her immediate destination, other objects and intended turning locations

Night/Day accident relationship

Darkness brings increased hazards to users of streets and highways because it reduces the distance they can see. The night time fatal accident rate on unlighted roadways is about three times the day time rate. This ratio can be reduced when proper fixed lighting is installed because these lighting systems reveal the environment beyond the range of the vehicle headlights and ameliorate glare from oncoming vehicles by increasing the eye’s adaptation level. Preventive measures such as lighting streets and highways is economically practical and can cost a community less than the accidents caused by inadequate visibility.

(source: IESNA, Roadway Lighting, 2005)
Photo by Inés Outumuro on Unsplash
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