Street Lighting and Public Safety
New Nighttime Lighting Documentation Method
While the rapid transition of street lighting technologies is occurring across the country for its promising benefits of high energy efficiency, higher intensity, long lamp life, and low maintenance, there is a lack of understanding on the impacts from street lighting’s physical characteristics on public safety. Nighttime lighting and its impact on the incidence of crime and roadway accidents has been investigated since the 1960s in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, prior research has not presented any scientific evidence such as quantified lighting characteristic data and its impacts on public safety because they relied on subjective survey inputs or over-simplified quantification of nighttime lighting conditions. To overcome the limitation of previous studies, extensive documentation of street lighting characteristics was conducted in downtown San Antonio, Texas, which adopts both conventional and new street lighting technologies. Two different sets of light level data were collected on roadways in order to measure the amount of light falling on the ground and on drivers’ eyes inside a car. Correlated color temperature and a color rendering index of nighttime lighting were recorded. The collected lighting data was mapped in a Geographic Information Systems database in order to spatially analyze lighting characteristics. The paper first highlights the potential issues with lighting analysis in previous studies. Next, the proposed research methodology to address these issues for both data collection and spatial analyses is explained. Finally, the preliminary documentation and analysis of street lighting characteristics are presented.
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