Road lighting as an element of road safety

Oświetlenie drogowe jako element bezpieczeństwa ruchu drogowego

“The level of Road Safety is affected by many factors, but it is not possible to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists without an accurate analysis of the lighting conditions of the roads surroundings. Street lamps should be such designed and operated to guarantee the maintenance of optimum visibility at night and in the dark. The selection of good lighting luminaires and their proper location is not everything — rational energy management is also important, it can reduce electricity bills. ”

Oświetlenie drogowe jako element bezpieczeństwa ruchu drogowego

In a special appendix about road safety added to May-​June 2016 release of “Drogi gminne i powiatowe” magazine, there was an interesting article about street lighting, that we would like to introduce to you.

In the first part, the article focuses on the features of road lighting — as it is known, the basic and most important of them is appropriate lighting in all parts of the road. To properly perform this function, the lighting should be adequately arranged and installed. The first thing to pay attention to is correct lighting of walkways and paths for pedestrians and cyclists, because as the least-​protected road users, their security should be ensured in the first place.

The arrangement and construction of the poles are greatly important in this issue, because for security reasons they should not be mounted on the edge of the roadway. The author notes that eventually everything depends on terrain, architectural conditions of the road and the presence of elements such as public transportation stops, intersections or pedestrian crossings.

Then are different constructions of lighting columns according to the European standard EN 12767. This standard defines three levels of energy absorption in event of a collision of the vehicle with the structure adjacent to road.

  1. HE Class — determines the highly energy absorbing structures. It applies important structural elements, which for safety reasons cannot be detached from the laying foundation.
  2. NE Class — defines the structures which does not absorb energy, in the event of vehicle impact they are raised off the ground immediately. This solution serves to increase the safety of the driver and passengers; the effects of a crash are minimal for the vehicle.
  3. LE Class — is a category of passive safety, signaling low level of energy absorption. In the event of a collision, the construction behave like class NE only after exceeding a certain critical impact force.

The preferred safety category for lighting columns is 100NE2 — column will act like NE construction when hit by a vehicle traveling at a speed of 100km/​h.

The second part of the article focuses on the electricity effective management. It is worth noting that vehicular traffic is much more intense during nightfall and in the morning than in the middle of the night, which prompts to search for different methods of saving energy.

A popular but improper method of saving is disabling every second luminaire in the street. This results in a significant reduction of the uniformity of illumination, which affects the level of safety and driving comfort negatively.

A much better way of energy management is to control the power consumption of luminaires by dimming them. Depending on the applied lighting controllers it is possible to adjust the power of the entire lighting system of road luminaires or individual selected lighting points. It is a highly flexible solution for reducing power consumption in straight sections and simultaneously lighting pedestrian crossings or bus stops correctly.

As noted by the author, full management of street lighting requires proper selection of luminaires and control system. We offer a full line of LED street luminaires cooperating with any lighting controllers available on the Polish market.

Intelligent lighting network control has many advantages:

  • Connect to one network many different objects, areas and types of lighting
  • Through integration with city monitoring system allows to increase power at selected light points in the event of an accident or collision
  • Integration with the sensors of environmental conditions (ie. dusk sensor) or even with a local weather stations. This allows to adjust the lighting power due to the actual weather and atmospheric conditions
  • Programming work schedules for individual days of the week and daytime.
  • Automatic informing about the failure of any of the luminaires connected to the control system
  • Increase the service life of luminaires by reducing full power working hours

Drogi gminne i powiatowe - reklama Renovis

In conclusion, it is worth considering the use of intelligent controllers while planning the modernization or building a new street lighting. Many investments made in the Polish cities shows that the selection of appropriate lighting controls and their correct configuration may reduce energy costs by up to 6070%. It should be noted that in combination with the energy-​saving Led-​based street luminaires can be generated even greater savings up to a total of 90%.