Safety of street lighting

The reason people feel less secure at night could be due to the limited visibility, which may have exposed our ancestors to greater danger from predators. While modern days concerns involve the fear of being mugged or victimized, studies suggest that outdoor lighting may reduce crime rates in an area, but there is conflicting evidence of this.

A review of research found a correlation between new lighting and reduced crime rates, but improvements were observed in daytime as well as darkness, indicating that street lighting is not the only factor. This review has faced criticism from other researchers, and a statistical analysis found no link between crime rates and turning off or dimming street lighting at night. While street lights may or may not impact crime, it is certain that brighter levels of light make people feel safer when walking at night. This leads to an increase in the time people spend walking each week and reduces the number of people who avoid leaving their homes at night, improving physical and mental well-being and increasing community pride.

The difference in safety ratings between day and night walks indicates something about the lighting on the street. The smaller the gap between day and dark ratings, the safer people feel due to the lighting. Researchers compared the participants different ratings against measure of lighting on each street, including the average illuminance and uniformity.

Today, average illuminance is the primary measure used when installing and evaluating street lighting. However, researchers found that while increasing average illuminance was associated with enhanced feelings of society, uniformity was more critical in making people feel secure. Therefore, evenly distributed lighting maybe more important than bright lighting in making people feel safer.

The local authorities are currently experiencing significant modifications in their lighting systems, as they are substituting conventional lamps with advanced led lights. The latest led technology consumes less energy, thereby resulting in cost savings for taxpayers. Furthermore, it enables councils to exercise greater authorities over the lighting service they offer, such as adjusting the brightness level or turning off the lights in the absence of pedestrians.   

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