What is the purpose of street lighting?

Imagine having to walk or drive through a dark street in the middle of the night.  Wouldn’t you start to feel some uneasiness or apprehension?  Now imagine a well-lit road and the comfort it brings.  Don’t we all take street lighting for granted?  With bright public spaces, you do not have to necessarily end your day at sundown, instead carry on with your activities even after it is dark.

One of the main reasons why we need street lighting is to improve safety.  Accurate and comfortable lighting is important for good night visibility.  When good visibility is provided, there will be prevention of accidents and enhanced sense of personal security.  Street lighting is not used for showing the way directly ahead of the vehicle, the headlights of the vehicle do that job.

Street lights illuminate the adjoining areas of the road and the area beyond the range of the vehicle headlights to help drivers be vigilant and to alert them of possible hazards.  The accident rate on unilluminated roads at night-time is about three times the day time rate.  Proper street lighting can also improve glare from oncoming vehicles by increasing the eyes’ adaptation level.

When we drive from a well-lit area to a dark area, our eyes take time to adjust.  If the light stays constant, the eyes do not need to continuously readjust for different levels of brightness.  Therefore, street lights must be installed on high poles at even distances for uniform and adequate brightness.  Quality street lighting also improves safety for pedestrians and people with weak eyesight.

Footpaths usually have dark spots from trees, rows of shrubs, tall buildings, or odd angles of the streets.  For pedestrians, the focus should be on illuminating walkways and the pole height is usually lower for pedestrian-oriented lighting than automobile-oriented lighting.  As per studies, poor lighting can also increase criminal activities.

Muggings and burglaries are more frequent in poorly-illuminated areas.  Strategically placed street lights can make customers feel safer and welcome to commercial establishments.  Street lights also improve the quality of life by artificially extending the day hours for night-time activities and encourage usage of public facilities at night.

Where should the lights be placed? 

solar street light 15 watt moon

Midblock street lighting: 

Road features such as kerbs, footpaths, road alignment, condition of the road, other vehicles and pedestrians can be made visible with the help of midblock lighting.  Areas with high night-time traffic volumes, service roads and locations with high levels of background lighting benefit from this type of lighting.

Intersection street lighting: 

Night-time crashes and collisions can be prevented with the help of lighting at intersection locations.  With sufficient lighting, drivers can see the intersecting road, traffic queues and other road users.  This type of lighting is best used at signalised intersections and roundabouts. Each intersecting road must have at least one light to aid traffic approaching from the side roads to identify the intersection.

Pedestrian crossing street lighting:

To enhance pedestrian safety, lighting at pedestrian crossings is necessary, which makes the pedestrians using the crossing, visible to oncoming motorists.  This also assists in locating safe pedestrian crossing points and detecting potential night-time dangers.  This aids in reducing street crime and number of pedestrian crashes.

Traditional street lights

Apparently, India has more than 27 million street lights, most of which are metal halides, CFL or sodium vapour lights.  These are not an environment-friendly option and they require routine maintenance.  Many lights remain on even during the day as they need manual assistance to be switched off, thereby causing electricity wastage.  The authorities usually end up investing more and more on the installed street lights.

The installation of these lights is a laborious work requiring a considerable amount of manpower for trenching, underground cabling and erecting the poles.  Any interruption in power supply would leave the area in darkness making the night life challenging.  Cable theft and risk of accidents from loose cables are also some of the common issues caused by these lights.  The lights are connected with each other; hence interdependency weakness would demand occasional repairs.

Solar Street Lights

solar street light 20 watt

Solar street lights are an economically practical lighting option for illuminating streets and highways. Solar street light have in-built solar panel, battery, controller and LED.  The panel converts solar energy into electrical energy which is stored in the battery and used later for dusk-to-dawn automatic illumination.   The lights do not have to be connected to a power grid as they operate with the help of solar energy alone.

India has abundance of sunlight throughout the year for most part of the country and as long as the lights are placed at areas that are shadow-free and where the panels can receive direct sunlight, the lights can give sufficient brightness to light up public or private spaces.  They are wireless and are easy to maintain and will continue to illuminate the installed space even during power outages.  Solar LED street lights reduce operating and ancillary costs and offer energy savings.

Solar street lights are available with motion sensor and timer-based dimming features.  To know more about all in one solar street light and integrated solar street light, contact https://tapetum.in/.