Pedestrian-Friendly Outdoor Lighting

DOE undertook the project to establish success criteria for pedestrian lighting and learn how designers can satisfy those criteria by applying solid-state-lighting solutions. The report presents findings and recommendations developed by closely monitoring the evolution of two major pedestrian-lighting projects.

According to DOE, “Every outdoor lighting project is different, and trade-offs between such factors as visual comfort, color, visibility, and efficacy are inevitable. There is no glare metric that works reliably for pedestrian lighting, so full-scale mock-ups are an important step for gathering feedback from users.” Both of the monitored projects, one in California at Stanford University, the other in upstate New York at Chautauqua Institution, required multiple full-scale mock-ups.

Not every neighborhood is a candidate for pedestrian-friendly lighting, the researchers discovered, but – where pedestrian-friendly lighting is appropriate – they recommend that designers consider the following findings:

  • When luminaire brightness can be controlled, neighborhoods may find lower-lumen-output luminaires to be acceptable and even preferred.
  • Luminaires that spread brightness over a larger luminous area reduce the perception of glare.
  • Luminaires with less optical “punch” may provide a softer, more visually comfortable lighted environment.
  • Luminaires delivering warmer-color light may be appropriate for older, more traditional-looking neighborhoods, especially if residents have been used to high-pressure sodium or incandescent outdoor lighting.

The report includes resident and pedestrian observations and survey results, feedback of facility design and engineering professionals, lighting designers’ thoughts and observations, and input from researchers and scientists.

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