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    Street-lighting checklist: A to-do list for professionals in the field

    Designing and delivering the right street lighting system is both an art and a science.

    Lighting professionals need more than a mastery of lighting technology and a thorough familiarity with the state of the art. They also require an intimate knowledge of the geographical context in which they're working — and the ability to foresee what tomorrow will demand from the system they're building today.


    Then there are the conflicting needs of various stakeholders to negotiate. The ideal solution for motorists might be less than ideal for the residents who live in the area. Technical maintenance crews will have yet other requirements.


    What follows is a checklist for lighting professionals to guide their work in delivering the best lighting design possible – whether they’re refurbishing an old lighting installation or designing a completely new one.

    1. Background information

    Collect the latest versions of all the background information that could impact your road lighting project; this is especially crucial if yours is a renovation project.

    • Make sure you've got the lighting master plan for the area in which you're going to work. This plan will drive the project.
    • Be sure you understand how any existing remote management system or standalone control system works.
    • Know the ins and outs of the existing maintenance plan. How are equipment failures detected and spare parts ordered? How is the system cleaned – is there a schedule in place?

    2. How people use the area

    Taking great care of the needs of users is key to delivering a relevant design.

    • What kinds of people use the area? Pedestrians, cyclists, motorists?
    • How important is it to make certain users comfortable?  Key users’ need should of course take priority.
    • When is the area used? For how long at a time? How often? On a regular basis or a variable one? This information will be key for installing dimming calendars. 

    3. Biodiversity concerns

    Lighting design needs to take environmental matters more into consideration as people become more concerned about respecting and protecting wildlife. Good lighting should never work against biodiversity.

    • Does any wildlife (bats or birds, for example) live in, cross through, or otherwise use the area?
    • Are there any environmental or biodiversity regulations you should know about?
    • Are there certain wavelengths to avoid or emissions spectra that you should use to make the space more livable for certain species?
    • Are there any relevant seasonal changes or species migrations that you should take into account?

    4. Contextual constraints

    Lighting projects often have to work around physical constraints.  These constraints won’t necessarily have a big impact on your project, but taking them into account will make your work better and reduce surprises at project’s end.

    • Trees and flowerbeds.
    • The locations of facades, windows, shop windows (how close to the luminaires are they?).
    • Public transportation infrastructure.
    • Signage and other advertising infrastructure.
    • Urban furniture and other elements, like benches, bike racks, garbage bins, and newspaper boxes.

    5. Existing lighting conditions

    ​Any lighting system you install has to take into account the surrounding lighting conditions as well as what fixtures are in place in the area. Make an inventory of the following:


    • Color temperature: If no master plan applies, you need to choose the color temperature with care. Is it warm white (3000K) or neutral white (4000K or above)? Whatever lighting you create must complement the existing temperature.
    • Illuminance level: Depending on how fast people are moving, it might be necessary to avoid a high illuminance contrast in order to guarantee proper vision adaptation.
    • Luminaire aesthetics: What do the luminaires that you’re replacing look like and how should the new ones match them? If you’re installing a new system, what aesthetic effect are you trying to create? What mounting types fit the best? Post-top, suspended, catenary, round top head, cobra head?

    6. Normative requirements

    Here's where, based on the above, you'll determine what you'll need to make the project happen.

    • Define the lighting classes you'll use depending on the context. In line with European Norm EN13201, for example, you might determine that the P4 class is right for a pedestrian-only area with a low speed limit and low traffic density.
    • Depending on your needs, you might also need specialized luminaire features like the following:
    • Measures to control glare (using an optical system like GentleBeam, for instance) or fulfill a certain G* class.
    • Measures to control light spill – and to control it even after the installation is finished (using louvre solutions, for example).

    7. Defining the solution

    By now you have narrowed down your options. It's time to start making choices as to what equipment and technology you'll use. You might base your decisions on:

    • The best efficiency your beams can produce. Look at what the highest utilance and/or lowest W/Lux/m² achievable is. To get some freedom among the different applications it’s worth looking for a provider with a wide-ranging optics portfolio, like the Philips Ledgine optimized platform.
    • The overall coherence of your proposition in terms of, for example, the number of different luminaire types, color temperatures, and lumen packages you’ll deliver.
    • Your maintenance-specific needs. How are equipment failures detected and spare parts ordered?

    8. Providing for specific needs

    You’ll have specific needs depending on the products you’ve chosen and the requirements of your project. Your duties might include:

    • Providing data for proper maintenance:
    • How will your solution integrate into the existing maintenance plan?
    • What information will be needed?
    • What specific attention points will there be?

    Innovations like the Philips Service tag can help you simplify maintenance operations by giving you the option to access relevant luminaire and spare part information and even to enable spare part programming in case a component like a driver needs to be programmed to factory settings.

    • Creating dimming calendars:
    • When will the full light level be required and when can the lighting be dimmed in each area?
    • Is the periodicity a day? A week?
    • Are there specific moments that you’ll have to take into account, like the holidays or the period in which a Christmas market will stand?

    Once you have clarity on all these questions, you can select the right control system. Remote light management software like Interact, for example, allows you to make real-time changes to light levels and also to schedule light settings for certain events. And you can do all of that remotely, from the office.

    Getting customer feedback

    A checklist like this one is helpful in guiding a project, but not sufficient. It doesn’t replace the need for in-depth conversations with clients that clearly define what they’re expecting and will require later. Nailing down answers to these questions will help down the line, for example when it’s time to sign a long-term maintenance contract or establish a financial services arrangement. Is the client looking for circular lighting or a Light as a Service option?


    You also need to understand the client’s long-term objectives. What do they think about smart city applications? Are they planning to leverage upcoming sensor and software applications?


    You’ll need to know these things so that you can select the best possible lighting partner, one who can not only handle implementation but perhaps also work with the customer after installation is complete. After all, the job doesn’t end when the lighting system is installed.