Quality street lighting can sometimes be overlooked as an important strategy for improving safety, but it should be a component seriously considered in Vision Zero planning and implementation. New developments in lighting and smart technology are giving cities more flexibility in choices and data to target problem areas and make effective improvements to safety on the streets, especially for those walking.
The Vision Zero Network was excited to partner with Philips Lighting in a recent webinar to explore the role of lighting in any community’s infrastructure planning, as well as a spotlight on street safety. Ms. Susanne Seitinger, Director of Public Sector Marketing for Philips Lighting, and Mr. Uzair Siddiqui, Senior Product Manager for Verizon, spoke as our guest panelists.
We’ve highlighted below some of the lessons we learned in the webinar, and if you’d like to hear more, check out the link to the recording of the webinar, below.
When establishing lighting systems, our panelists reminded us to consider the following:
- Nighttime safety: 3 out of 4 pedestrian deaths happen at night, and light availability during the daytime and nighttime can have a massive impact on safety.
- The right light: More light isn’t always the right answer, rather the right light is key to provide greater contrast, and to help make people be more visible, especially people walking at nighttime.
- Connected operations: In today’s world of smart technology and smart cities, sensors can be included with lighting to provide important data to determine what type of lighting is needed at that intersection and help maintain lighting infrastructure for the long-term in a more dynamic, complete way. The data helps to highlight what’s happening at an intersection, fine tune problems, and also ensure that the investment in the connected lighting pays off. Further, similar to traffic lights, the lighting can then be controlled remotely.
- Beyond lighting: In addition to sensors, cameras can also be added to lighting to gather data. Cameras do not recognize faces or license plates, but monitor how many people are crossing each intersection, how many vehicles, and their movement patterns over time. Camera videos can be transferred into analytics to know at what speeds drivers are traveling through the intersection, their turning movements, as well as helpful data for people walking and biking.
- Build on other benefits: Given the significant environmental benefits of some improved lighting systems, this is a chance to double goals of sustainability and safety. In fact, there may be a lighting upgrade effort being planned in your community, which can be connected to Vision Zero safety goals, so this is a chance to reach out to city staff focused on sustainability.
- Getting started: These components are scalable, so cities can start investments in target areas and then expand over time. To begin, Vision Zero leaders can collaborate with departmental partners such as public works, public utility companies, and planners and initiate a pilot program that can be expanded over time. This helps the city understand potential impacts before rolling out a larger program. And, of course, Vision Zero leaders should be on the look-out to plug into already planned upgrading or maintenance opportunities to make the most of existing efforts and resources.
Our takeaway from the webinar is that, clearly, improved lighting should not be overlooked as a promising strategy for Vision Zero communities. In fact, this may be one of the more overlooked areas to boost the movement toward safety for all.
Read more about the connection between lighting and pedestrian safety in a recent white paper from Philips here.
And learn more on the webinar with Philips Lighting, linked below.