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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M02900X/1
Title: MERLIN-2: Further empirical evidence of lighting for pedestrians
Principal Investigator: Fotios, Professor SA
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Architectural Studies
Organisation: University of Sheffield
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2015 Ends: 31 October 2018 Value (£): 454,085
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 May 2015 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 21st May 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
When travelling to local destinations, safer streets encourage people to walk rather than drive. That is beneficial in many ways: walking promotes good health and interaction with the community and less driving reduces pollution. After dark, good road lighting contributes to pedestrian safety. Good lighting can make a place feel safer by improving visibility of the route ahead and improving the visibility of other people. Good lighting can make a path safer for pedestrians by improving the ability to detect potential trip hazards in time to take avoiding action. However, there is currently insufficient knowledge of what 'good lighting' is. While the public generally respond favourably to increasing light levels, there must be consideration to the energy consumed by the lighting and that at some point, increasing the light level does not increase the visual benefit of lighting.

Recent work has suggested that we can reduce light levels without reducing the visual benefit of lighting because light levels are un-necessarily high and by optimising the trade-off between the colour of lighting and the spatial distribution of light. Reducing light levels offers a rapid route to reduction in energy consumption and hence in the greenhouse gasses associated with electricity generation, a demand-side approach to meeting current carbon-reduction commitments. Reducing light levels reduces the amount of light reflected to the night sky, and reduces the impact of nocturnal lighting on wildlife and human health.

The proposed project will investigate road lighting in residential areas, which is designed to meet primarily the needs of pedestrians. We will first clarify our understanding of what matters to pedestrians - what it is they need to see for safe walking. This will be done through a new analysis of eye tracking data from pedestrians walking outdoors after dark, videos which show where someone looks, to reveal the critical objects of attention and how far ahead we would like to see them. Experiments will be carried out to explore how lighting affects our ability to evaluate the intention of other people (e.g. whether friendly or threatening) and to detect potential trip hazards, and how lighting affects perceived safety: our recent work suggests these are the critical tasks for safe walking.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk