The BBC reports that British authorities are studying whether or not lighting along major roadways should be dimmed or even turned off to save the government money and curb carbon emissions.

According to the report, The Highways Agency is investigating lowering lighting levels at night, but only when traffic levels are "very low" to ensure safety is maintained. The study, to be carried out in 2012 and 2013, will include consulting the UK's Institution of Lighting Professionals while still vowing to stay in accord with "internationally agreed standards."

At this time, there are no public estimates on how much the UK could save on power and lighting maintenance by turning the lights down, or what sort of carbon footprint reduction could be expected. However, we imagine that if the initiative moves forward, British authorities will be keen to point out the savings. Now, about dimming costly light flashing on all those speed cameras...


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  • 25 Comments
      Wolf
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems to me that cars are set up with head lights. On the major freeways I suspect they could get away with very few street lights and nobody would have much of a problem. Replace them all with LEDs and problem solved.
      jj360
      • 2 Years Ago
      Long stretches of the 10 freeway through the heart of Angeles are not lit. No one seems to notice.
      John
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't see how it will make any difference for the "environment" - trying to save money at the expense of the public is more like it. I don't think there can be too much visibility at night, especially on dangerous roads. The main reason citizens pay taxes is for a safe environment. If there is one fatality from such a plan, then heads should roll.
      PiCASSO
      • 2 Years Ago
      On some of the toll highways in the Great Chicago Area, we have plenty of 4-lane wide highways that are NOT lit with any lights... saving Illinois money and helping the environment. They further saved money by doubling the tolls to all partrons. Love living here...
      Drakkon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm in the lighting business. If they have multi-stage lights, they need to be really bright as dusk, then dim down as the sky darkens. It's not really how many other people are out there. It's the contrast of brightness versus dark.
        LW
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drakkon
        many high efficient light sources are not dimmable, they are either full on or full off. So you are asking for many lighting elements in the unit. Also, why would you need more light during dusk when the dark part are still visible?
        sonic_the_dreadnaught
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Drakkon
        Thats a good idea. Cause the goal is to increase visability while lowering power output. These multi stage lights probably should also probably react to the various phases of the moon. Cause we all know how bright a full mooned night, can get. I'd ride with this idea, but I'm not so sure about the proposed LED idea. They may be good power savers, but they are blindingly bright when looking directly at them. I'm not a lighting expert, but they don't seem good for an "overflow" effect. They are better for direct light, like for flashlights, or lightsabers.
          Drakkon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @sonic_the_dreadnaught
          LEDs work well if you diffuse them. We use them in channel letter signs in place of neon because they are 4-5" behind the plastic face and the translucent plastic spreads the light evenly. If you have bare LEDs, you get a brilliant spot, but lousy flood effect. There are a few LED area lights out there like the wall lights that shine down on a sidewalk. HID still works better for broadcast even though it's less efficient. Someone will figure it out, the the tech isn't there yet.
      LW
      • 2 Years Ago
      There were push to replace mecury vapor lamps with low pressure sodium lamps, which would give it a 3-5x increase in efficiency (at 200lumens/watt, still much more efficient than LEDs), but there were backlash from people who didn't want those single wavelength lights). That would have been a cheap way to efficiency 10-30 years ago, but back then, efficiency was not in anybody's minds.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      rex
      • 2 Years Ago
      All is lost. No one even questions the necessity to curb carbon emissions. This even when it is well know that the science is not in on such global warming by man and/or with the predicted global cooling on the way. It's the sun stupid rings from the bell tower...
      Leather Bear
      • 2 Years Ago
      If the picture is anything to go by, it looks like everyone in the UK is driving on the wrong side of the motorway! ;o)
      Edward
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Brits have not only bad teeth, but an aging population with bad eyes. Not such a good idea. Street lights are usually the most efficient because the noisy ballasts are away from humans, and gov'ts want lower electric bills combined with long life. Ballasts are made for one wattage only, and would have to be changed out if lower wattage lamps (bulbs) are used. That runs costs up and can be counterproductive, with a longer payoff time and more accidents, ambulance runs, hospital costs, etc.
        s10
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Edward
        actually apparently roads are safer when not lit because people perceive it as hazardous and drive more carefully.
      brnthchldrn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmmm...seems drastic don't you think? Why can't they just power them with their mediocrity?
      ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      .Seems like a decent idea. Im only worried about people with really dim head lights and how they will deal with the lack of light. I used to drive a car with fogged and yellowed headlights and without highway lights it could be pain to drive in bad weather
        WillieD
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ryan
        If people have yellowed headlights then they should restore them...
          ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @WillieD
          I don’t have yellow headlights anymore. From my experience most people don’t restore their headlights. So that doesn’t really solve the problem.
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