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Reduced Street Lighting does not increase danger

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by cjvfr, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Your chances of being attacked, robbed, or struck by a car are no worse on a dimly lit street. And yet, like cavemen huddled around a campfire, humans are still comforted by light.

    The latest findings from the University College London (UCL) were released yesterday in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Researchers looked at 14 years of data from 63 local authorities across England and Wales, searching for trends among agencies that reduced their lighting.The authors didn’t study why those municipalities turned off the lights, but they say most simply wanted to save money.

    Britain turns off the lights

    Economic hard times have hit many of England’s cities and towns, as the country’s councils — local governing bodies — are facing cuts in how much cash they receive from the national government. Out of the country’s 150 councils that have authority over their streetlights, about 100 have either dimmed or turned some off in order to save money. One survey estimated that 750,000 streetlights — roughly one-third of all British streetlights — have gone dark.

    This move to darker skies has also sparked a national debate in the country. The Automobile Association claims six people have died as a direct result of dimming the lights.But that finding was not backed up by the UCL study released yesterday. That research shows less than 1 percent of all nighttime traffic collisions occurred on streets where the lights had been switched off. And overall, the statistics showed no link between accidents and dimming, reducing, or changing the style of streetlights.

    Secondly, the researchers looked at lighting’s effect on crime trends. In regions of reduced lighting, they found, there was no increase in burglary, auto theft, robbery, violence, or sexual assault.

    Astronomy Magazine
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  2. That study has been refuted this week, another organisation noted that in areas with reduced lighting there was no increase of accidents but the rate of reduction of accidents was less than in lit areas ie. the downward trend was shallower in dark areas. The chap representing the UCL study admitted that they hadn't examined that subtlety.
    Sorry, cannot link to a report as it was discussed on BBC radio 4 this week.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Interesting Womble, we may be in the area of statistical noise or it may be significant. We do spend a lot of energy lighting empty areas and the subsequent light pollution does make star gazing close to population centres difficult. I would be interested in further study on the matter.

    Perhaps movement detection to switch lights on may be an option.
  4. maybe if they move to LED or similar that are not affected by start-up so much?

    having lights turn on in front of you while driving could be distracting.. normal Aussies have a hard enough time concentrating as it is :D
    but motion sensor LED for pedestrians (and hoodlums?), good idea!

    I have noticed some councils seeming to turn off every second or third light in the last few years.. or maybe that's just shoddy maintenance? :D
  5. Yes it is a bit more difficult with discharge lamps.
  6. Agreed. Give me a day or so and I'll try to dig out the study that refuted the claims.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. New Zealand did an extensive study in 2012, and found a direct causation between accidents and the level of road luminance.

    Attached Files:

    • Informative Informative x 2
  8. The over-lighting of modern suburbs is one of my personal beefs. It's night time, it should be dark. Deprevation of dark is considered a form of torture. And it doesn't come free. Residents pay for it.
  9. Over-lighting, in conjunction with normally illuminated instruments in cars, could possibly give rise to people driving around at night without headlights on... I've noticed a fair few in the last couple of years.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. "you meet a better class of people in the dark".
    Dirty Harry Magnum Force.
  11. My street has no lights. I like it that way. So do the neighbours.
    • Like Like x 1