White road lights aid city liveability

Melbourne is now the world’s most liveable city according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, but 20 years ago its central city was dying.

With a 9-5pm economy and only 100 residents in the CBD, the city sought ways to reverse the decline. Melbourne City Council introduced planning and design strategies to transform the CBD. One of these strategies involved white road lighting and other traffic “calming” measures, based on lighting and road safety research.

Today Melbourne boasts a vibrant CBD with a 24-hour economy and 29,000 central city residents.

Ian Dryden, who leads Melbourne’s industrial design team, will present the story of Melbourne’s turn-around, and the vital role of its lighting strategy, at Road Lighting 2015: Smart City Investment at the Langham Hotel in Auckland March 9-10.

Conference manager, Godfrey Bridger, of Strategic Lighting Partners Ltd, says the conference is designed to assist city leaders and managers in New Zealand and Australia to develop their own strategies for the introduction of new technology LED road lighting that is sweeping the world.

“We have an exciting line-up of international speakers who will share their own first-hand experience of city-wide LED retrofits, as well as experts in internet-based lighting controls, green technology finance and insurance specialists, and road lighting researchers.”

He says cities are introducing white LED lighting mainly for reasons of energy and maintenance efficiency, since the new technology can halve road lighting operational costs, but other benefits are also emerging. White LED lighting is improving road safety (with better visibility and faster reaction times), reducing light pollution, and establishing a controllable infrastructure platform to facilitate smart city development. LED controllability means road lighting design can address concerns about potential interference with wildlife circadian rhythms.

Residents and ratepayers are reacting favourably, says Mr Bridger.

Los Angeles is experiencing a revitalisation of its central city, with “loft conversion” rates rising, since it completed its white LED retrofit last year – the first city in the world to do so – according to another speaker.

The Director of the City of Los Angeles’ Street Lighting Bureau, Ed Ebrahimian, says not only has the city halved its road lighting costs, but also its nighttime traffic accident and street crime rates have fallen significantly since the change. Reviewing his six years’ ground-breaking experience in retrofitting 154,000 yellow HPS lights with LED, and now moving to “smart city” internet controllability, Ed Ebrahimian will discuss what he would do differently if he was starting the whole process today.

Road Lighting 2015 is sponsored by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), Electrix and Strategic Lighting Partners, and is supported by Local Government NZ, the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM), the Road Controlling Authorities Forum, the Energy Management Association of NZ (EMANZ), Lighting Council NZ, the Illuminating Engineers Society ANZ, the Electrical Contractors Association of NZ, and Massey University.

For more information please contact:
Crystal Beavis, Strategic Lighting Partners, ph +64 7 859 0060 or mob 0275 957 927
or go to www.roadlightingconference.com

Editor’s note: The research supporting Melbourne’s white road lighting strategy was undertaken by the late Ian Lewin PhD, former CEO of Lighting Sciences Inc, Arizona, and former President of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), a UK-born research engineer and inventor with over 140 papers and 20 patents to his name, whose work included lighting systems for NASA on the International Space Station, the original development of traffic lights using LED technology, and lighting design of the popular Mag-lite flashlight. His research validated that driver reaction times are halved under white light compared with yellow HPS road lighting.

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