Thinking About LED Street Lighting in Your Neighborhoods?

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2018 by
In Transportation Engineering, tagged in Tags:

Many cities are making the switch from high pressure sodium lights to LED lights in their residential neighborhoods. LEDs offer greater visibility for vehicles and pedestrians at night and don’t require as much energy to provide the same amount of light, which can translate to long-term cost-savings.

LED fixtures with a color temperature of 5,000K and above can cast more of a blue light than their predecessors, and some residents have raised concerns about the effects blue light can have on a person’s circadian rhythms. The standard color temperature used for LED street lighting is between 3,000K to 4,000K, which is a white light and much less of a concern. Light spill (when light shines where you don’t want it – like in residents’ living rooms) is much more controlled with LED lighting. Essentially, light can be cut off more easily, which prevents it from coming through windows and disrupting sleep and circadian rhythms.

To create the safest environment, we recommend cities follow these guidelines:

  • Use lights that are 3,000 to 4,000K maximum. Some studies show adverse effects from blue light above 5,000K.
  • Consider where houses are placed in relation to the street and use their positioning to determine if LED is a good fit for the neighborhood.
  • Study the amount of foot traffic on sidewalks to see if brighter lighting would be beneficial. There may not be enough to warrant adding it.

If you’re thinking of making the switch, be sure to include an educational component as you roll out your public engagement efforts. Share the plans you’ve made and how you intend to minimize the impacts of blue light and light spill with your community.

To learn more about LED lighting, email me at

Photo is Ridgeview Road and K-10 from the Johnson County Gateway Design Build Project

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