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In Sweden, road lighting is regulated in Vägars och gators utformning (VGU). Generally, the requirement is an average luminance level and a luminance uniformity of the road surface. An important question is if the requirements are reasonable? Too low requirements would mean poor traffic safety and too high levels would mean waste of energy and undesired impact on the environment.

In night-time traffic, accidents involving vulnerable road users are overrepresented, which may be caused by poor visibility. The aim with the present study was to investigate the influence of the average luminance and the luminance uniformity on the detection distance of pedestrians in road lighting.

Two pilot studies have been conducted as a full-scale trial on Tagenegatan in Gothenburg. This specific street has a road lighting installation where each light source can be dimmed individually. This means that both the average luminance and the luminance uniformity can be regulated independently. Thus, the effect of the average luminance can be studied at certain levels of uniformity and vice versa. In this experiment the average luminance 1.0, 0.5, 0.35 and 0.0 cd/m2 were studied along with the luminance uniformities 0.0 and 0.4.

In the first study, five subjects participated, travelling at approximately 50 km/h as passengers in a car. Their only task was to push a silent button when a "pedestrian" was detected. The pedestrian was a grey-painted obstacle, dark grey on one side and light grey on the other and it was located on the right pavement. This meant that the background of the pedestrian partly was the surface of the pavement, partly bushes close behind. The conditions were completely intertwined, which meant that six light conditions were studied, involving four pedestrians; light and dark grey, positioned just behind a light source and between two lanterns, respectively.

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