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10 best practices for road lighting projects

  • 10 best practices for road lighting
Sep 20, 2021

Road lighting: your journey starts here


Road lighting: Your Journey starts here.

As we navigate modernisation and improvements to our towns and cities, the road network is constantly under pressure to evolve for a greater variety of users whilst considering the environmental impact.  Transport hubs, park and ride, carpool lanes, school zones, and cycle lanes all require expert planning and adherence to best practice for correct safety and vision.  Thorn Lighting controls are designed to deliver cost-savings through lower energy consumption and perform reliability to reduce pollution and waste.

We assess the most important elements to get right when considering lighting these essential networks. If you are planning a road lighting project, the following ten areas of best practice will provide guidance on the key points to consider when planning and designing road lighting installations.

1. A Clear Way Forward                                              

The planning process sets your lighting installation up for success. Carefully gathering all the lighting requirements and objectives for your project at the outset is cost-efficient and guarantees an effective result. Thorn can assist with any element of this planning process you may need. Take advantage of our advanced planning tools and 70 years’ experience in lighting. We carefully consider all aspects to design your optimal road lighting solution. Our goal is to serve all types of road applications and environments that benefit people, places, and nature.

2. Safety First                                                     

Correct road lighting is vital for safely guiding people to their destinations, protecting the environment, and creating a sense of security whilst operating cost effectively.  Road lighting must support safety foremost.  Correct lighting on all roads must increase visibility, help reduce fatigue and minimise dangerous glare.  Uniformity and balanced brightness in lighting assists drivers to navigate well and reduces the likelihood of an accident. Choose luminaires with adequate glare control, consider column height and increasing peripheral vision at the sides of roads.  Minor roads accommodate different types of users and each one requires the correct lighting for a safe journey.  In this case, consider illuminance / luminance levels, spill light and security.

3. How are relevant standards met?

All road lighting installations must adhere to defined requirements for the class of road set out in lighting codes or standards. Each class has a range of sub-classes, from the strictest to the most relaxed. Considerations include, types of users, typical speed of users, typical volumes of traffic flow, difficulty of the navigational task, the function of the overall layout of the road, and the environmental conditions.  These codes of practice clearly stipulate; illuminance levels, uniformity, glare restrictions, performance classes, methods of measurement and colour properties of the light sources. Standards may also vary from country to country. In Europe, for example, requirements for outdoor workplaces are defined by the standard EN 12464-2 and for roads in the EN 13201 series of standards. To ensure your project is compliant our Thorn specialists are highly trained and well-versed in all lighting codes.

4. How much control do I need?

Smart control systems capable of automatically adjusting illuminance levels based on natural light levels have become a basic requirement for road installations.  Intelligent solutions with integrated controls, advanced optics, and future-proof technology, can be customised and programmed to intuitively adjust to the environment, and deliver fine-tuned colour.  Urban roads after dark must provide safety for pedestrians whilst minimising light spill and saving energy.  Smart controls ensure light is not overused outdoors and dark skies are protected.  Our wide range of product families allow road lighting to be easily maintained and monitored, to minimise the impact on people and the environment.

5. The bigger picture

If you have a large sprawling area to plan, the lighting demands will differ across all road types.  Your project could involve motorways, major roads, minor roads, residential roads, conflict areas, pedestrian zones, and bridges.  With our expertise and guidance, we can create a scheme to accommodate your project.  Along with reliability we offer a comprehensive range that brings efficiency and visual performance to every kind of road, with easy maintenance, installation, and smart controls.

6. The role of road lighting in the night sky

It is essential that lighting installations are designed to minimise the impact of sky glow and obtrusive light to neighbouring communities and buildings.  There are many techniques to avoid obtrusive light.  Champion, for example, features optics that focus the light precisely so that spill light is kept to a minimum.  Luminaires should be fixed nearly horizontally to point downwards, less tilt reduces the impact on sky glow due to reduced upward light.  Consider lower heights as the closer a column is to the area to be lit, the better the control and efficiency of the lighting.  By using luminaires that have a lower lumen output therefore a reduced mounting height, further helps reduce spill light.

7. How do I achieve cost-savings long-term?

Our case studies demonstrate that significant energy savings of *50% can be made.  Efficiency is a significant factor to demonstrate the long-term success of the project. Control technologies greatly reduce overall electricity consumption without compromising performance and safety. Thorn has several energy-efficient solutions for road applications. Reduced lumen output during reduced traffic periods save energy and reduce light pollution.

*Durham County Council reported an annual energy saving reduction of 50% following an extensive upgrade project to replace 14 000 road lanterns.

8. How do I easily operate the controls?

Our smart lighting solutions use RF-based wireless remote-control systems, which provide maximum flexibility along with reduced energy and maintenance costs.  Individual or groups of luminaires can be accessed for troubleshooting, checking the status, adjusting the time, all without the need to visit the installation site. Sophisticated lighting controls accommodate all types of road lighting schemes, automatically adjusting illumination levels to meet changing demands. We offer a variety of control solutions, including DALI and DMX, that can be customised to support all road requirements.

9. What about maintenance?

Thorn’s products undergo intensive quality manufacturing, assuring the best processes and standards, to develop reliable products for a long lifetime. Road lighting fixtures are subject to severe atmospheric constraints.  The materials employed in the construction of the Thorn outdoor luminaires have been selected specifically for their suitability in harsh environments.  All lighting installations require servicing, and we design products to allow for optimal cleaning performance and maintenance. Smart design features support simple installation and replacement, easy access to switches, control gear and electrical connections. We have reliable products that boast over 100k hours on both the drivers and LEDs, requiring only minimal maintenance.

10. How does Thorn assist with the overall project?   

We have an end-to-end solution, suited to complex road projects.  We check the initial requirements and, if necessary, conduct an analysis of the existing installation. We develop a concept draft and provide a bespoke solution.  We project manage, drawing up implementation plans and a detailed lighting concept.  We coordinate your project partners and guide you through the project.  We install the new luminaires and controls and remove and recycle old equipment if necessary.  We handle the commissioning and help get your lighting solution completed.  A large-scale road project benefits from one contractor handling all the deliverables and stages.   Best of all you have peace of mind knowing that everything will be completed efficiently, cost-effectively, on time and in compliance with relevant lighting requirements.

Thorn Lighting products are proud to conform to European Standard codes of practice, the guidance on lighting requirements and environmental aspects for all road users.  We know that correctly lit roads assist all users in navigating their way safely, whatever the time, whatever the weather.  Excellent planning and design of road lighting installations will help reduce accidents, create accessibility and work in harmony with the nocturnal ecosystem.

Start your journey with Thorn Lighting today.

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