Street Lighting using Reflectivity

REFLECTIVE LIGHT ON SUBURBAN AND RURAL STREETS

Street Lighting using Reflectivity

REFLECTIVE LIGHT ON SUBURBAN AND RURAL STREETS 2002

 

PROGRAM:
Current street lights may not be the best for suburban and rural streets. The light may blind the driver’s eyes in the dark surrounding.  This proposal studies the potential use of reflectivity

AWARD:
NYS Council on the Arts:  Independent Projects Award


The idea to explore alternatives to street lighting stemmed from three observations:  While improving safety is a goal of street lighting, beaming light onto black, absorptive asphalt pavement seems wasteful and unproductive. Light reflected on specific, local structures increases awareness of the positive in the environment while serving illumination needs. When traveling an unlit rural road, the constant, diffuse light allows a wider field of vision than the tiring tunnel vision caused by the contrast between a lit roadway and its darker surroundings.
 
This article examines alternatives to street lighting for suburban and rural roads.  The impacts on vision, energy use, cost and relationship to the environment will be discussed, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of visible lamps, diffuse illumination and reflective surfaces.  The project will compare the notion of lighting the environment permanently to temporary and mobile light sources. Design concepts will explore route guidance, warnings, light trespass, the interplay of roadway users, and aesthetic considerations.  The impact of the setting on the effectiveness of designs, the social and political impacts on lighting, and standardization of application versus local identity will be discussed.  Finally, the value of darkness and the night sky will enter the argument.