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Bicycles/Pedestrians

Safety Toolbox: Engineering


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Roadway lighting improvements

   
It is best to place streetlights along both sides of arterial streets and to provide a consistent level of lighting along a roadway. Nighttime pedestrian crossing areas may be supplemented with brighter or additional lighting. This includes lighting pedestrian crosswalks and approaches to the crosswalks. Mercury vapor, incandescent, or less expensive high-pressure sodium lighting is often preferred as pedestrian-level lighting. Low-pressure sodium lights are low energy, but have a high level of color distortion.
objective To enhance security and pedestrian safety and comfort. To provide levels of lighting that are oriented toward pedestrian activity and not exclusively for auto traffic.
applications

Adequate lighting should be provided at all roadways and sidewalks. It is most beneficial in the following conditions:

  • Arterial streets and other roadways with high traffic volumes, particularly near intersections
  • Streets or areas with high nighttime pedestrian activity, particularly where other high-pedestrian areas in the city or area are also lighted
  • Streets or intersections with a high incidence of nighttime accidents, dark residential streets with high volumes of child and/or older adult pedestrians
target population All Pedestrians, All Bicyclists, Motorists
crash type Pedestrian R/W Violation-Intersection, Pedestrian Violation-Intersection, Improper Passing, Other Hazardous Movement
advantages
  • Motorists may be able to see pedestrians and bicyclists better at nighttime
disadvantages
  • Energy cost for installing and operating pedestrian-oriented lighting is significantly higher than that for vehicle-oriented lighting
pointers —.
cost Medium, $2,000-$3,000 per streetlight, depending on ornamental style and whether each pole carries one or two lamps. Conduit costs may also be higher.
responsibility Public Works
further reading Lalani, N. Street Lighting Improvements on Major Sections of Principal Roads in Greater London. Road Safety Studies Bulletin, April 1980.
examples City of Philadelphia, PA; City of Atlanta, GA; City of Los Angeles, CA
related tools In-Roadway Warning Lights at Crosswalks

Index: alphabetical / cost / crash type / target population

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