Street lighting has a major impact on the safety of the community. Whether for practical reasons related to visibility or for security or social reasons, public lighting is an important element of traffic and of the overall infrastructure of cities.
Public and street lighting primarily affect the quality of life, by extending the duration of the day and allowing a person greater flexibility in organizing their own time and lifestyle. Good public lighting also has a positive effect on reducing light pollution, which has over the years affected not only humans but also wildlife.
From an architectural and aesthetic point of view, lighting also participates in the creation of the identity of settlements and cities. This goes so far that one of the cultural and historical capitals of Europe is often referred to as the “the city of light”.
Public lighting and its importance in traffic safety
A study done in America in 2003 investigated how to improve street safety and found that as many as 73% of interviewees agreed that better street lighting would contribute to greater child safety, while 63.8% agreed that better street lighting would reduce the risk of traffic accidents.
Due to the lack of natural light, the human eye begins to adapt to low visibility conditions, which is proven to increase the risk for drivers. The artificial light at that point is the driver’s first and only ally, starting with car headlights, which often don’t emit enough light for smooth driving, followed by street luminaires.
Improper street light maintenance directly increases the risk of reduced street visibility. The quality of LED lighting and reduced maintenance needs, in this case, become important street safety factors and electricity consumption savers. That is why it is recommended to use the highest quality street luminaires on the market in all streets, especially vital ones. And this has been driving BUCK team for decades.
Reducing light pollution with the help of high-quality public lighting
Light pollution means uncontrolled scattering of light outside the intended space, affecting, for example, residential units, natural habitats of flora and fauna by the roads, and finally, losing of the “dark sky” effect, meaning it becomes difficult or impossible to see stars at night. Excessive use of artificial lighting and improper selection of lighting equipment can lead to disorders inhuman biorhythm, disorientation, depression and other disturbances that affect the quality of life.
The main causes of light pollution are the design characteristics of the equipment used for public lighting, materials, local infrastructure and environment.
Light pollution can be decreased by using products and materials with reduced environmental impact, starting with the more and more common use of LED light sources, which are proven to efficiently consume energy and represent a more environmentally friendly solution. Optical efficiency is often not mentioned, and it represents the ability to focus all light exclusively where it is needed, preventing light pollution, while increasing energy efficiency.
With the installation of intelligent systems, it is possible to control the amount of artificial lighting in cities, by reducing it at dusk, increasing it in the hours with more traffic (until 11-12h), reducing it again to the low-frequency regime, with the possibility of installing multi-sensors for motion and daylight detection. Such systems economise the amount of energy consumed and extend the life of luminaires, while the system is automatic and independent from human management.
BUCK LED lighting, characterized by low energy consumption, innovative construction enabling an efficient operation in extreme weather conditions, longer life spans and restraint of flux output in the upper half-space, drastically reduces the negative effects on the environment and on human health in general.
BUCK public city lighting
Whether it be roads or street lighting, our company produces high-quality LED luminaires such as the Mistral and Vihor series for public lighting. In addition to the optimal visibility they provide, it is important to note their low energy consumption and durability, while maintenance is reduced to a minimum.
Mistral street luminaire
The Mistral is a highly efficient LED street luminaire. It offers a choice of 28 different types of lenses, which allow power adjustments from 34W to 441W, as well as adjusting light flux from 4910 lm up to 52400 lm.
Choosing the right light distribution, depending on the pole height and the distance between the poles, results in a significant reduction of the required installed power. Given the longevity of all components (more than 100,000 operating hours), the need for maintenance is reduced, leading to additional savings and optimal street visibility for all street users.
The light distribution is defined by highly performing PMMA lenses with high UV and temperature resistance, suitable for different weather conditions. These lenses allow for better directing of light beams, minimizing the scattering of light that may distract drivers and cause light pollution.
Thanks to the adaptability of LED module quantity, Mistral luminaires can meet the requirements for different types of lighting – be it streets, pedestrian zones, parking lots or squares.
Vihor street luminaire
Vihor is a LED luminaire for smaller roads and streets, providing high energy efficiency. It is available with a choice of 31 types of different lenses, which allow power adjustments from 21W to 110W, as well as adjusting light flux from 2798 lm to 12585 lm.
The optical block consists of PMMA lenses with high light transmittance – as much as 95%, with 4mm thick tempered glass protector. A wide range of different power and optical accessories is available, suitable for versatile application in different types of outdoor lighting.
High-end lenses allow for better beam positioning, so light pollution and light scattering to adjacent objects are minimal.
Regulations of public lighting – an important factor affecting people
In addition to the design of quality lighting, regulations are also needed to regulate public lighting, in terms of protecting street users and reducing light pollution. European regulations governing this field is EN 12665.
One of the better examples is the regulations of some European countries. Namely, at intersections, it is forbidden to place panels, signs and other lighting devices that blind traffic participants, or which may affect their attention while driving.
A positive example is the prohibited use of light beams of any kind if they are directed toward the sky or water. Should any of the rules be violated, the law stipulates that the owner of the installation, the designer and the operator are responsible for the occurrence of light pollution.
Reducing crime rates with the help of public lighting
The lack of street lighting, as well as using poorly lit streets at night, directly put residents at risk of potential attacks. There are many other ways to improve people’s safety during the night, but it is natural for people to feel uncomfortable when they are in a dark street without a single luminaire.
Through this aspect, public lighting plays an even more important role, as many studies and statistics around the world have found a significant decline in crime rates or violence in well-lit sections. It is well known that such situations are less likely to occur in popular tourist sites that are always well lit or generally in residential, cultural and other neighbourhoods.
In Belgrade in the 1990s, there was an initiative to illuminate schoolyards and corners where adults gathered to drink and have fun at night. The next morning, children would find empty or broken glass bottles and syringes. With minimal investment, often with donations (in which BUCK also participated), the people who gathered there found another place, and a cleaner and safer environment for children was provided.
As part of urban planning, in accordance with the lighting regulations, there is a direct impact on creating a sense of security and improving the quality of life. The principle “well-lit community = safe community” then makes perfect sense.
Public lighting as an important detail of a city’s image
When planning and developing an infrastructure project in a location that will naturally include the network of streets in it, lighting is the element giving a key visual aspect to an object, making it striking or easily noticeable.
It is in this visual aspect that many traffic routes around the world are known, from New York to Singapore. Apart from looking striking thanks to their attractive night lights, they also contribute to increased traffic safety.
Adequately coordinated public lighting will highlight important streets, promenades, or specific neighbourhoods of the city. This creates a nice and comfortable ambience, and above all a safe environment.
We believe that to create a stable, secure and sustainable community, the development of public lighting represents a revolutionary shift that allows us to live a much better and comfortable life every day. In the modern age, much is being done to improve public lighting, and this is where the necessary progress coincides with our mission. Safety has no price.