The Psychology of a Well Lit Street

beautiful night view of the street in Prague


Streetlights and psychology? Are these things even remotely related?  Actually YES!  People feel safer on a well lit street, so when the lights go out, so does one’s confidence.  If you live in a city and walk alone at night, you probably prefer routes that are well-lit over ones that aren’t.  Fear keeps us out of the dark alley, and attraction to light and what it represents draws us to illuminated streets, so ensuring that broken lights are fixed quickly are paramount to a citizen’s feeling of safety.

Streetlights do more than prevent crime and make the community feel safer, they allow safer operation of vehicles at night, reduce accidents, and assist traffic flow.  To be safe for drivers, light needs to be relatively constant. We know our eyes adjust faster to going out into the sun than to walking into darkness. For awhile when we enter a dark room, our vision is impaired.

Driving from a well-lit area to a dark one produces this effect. So ideally if an area must be illuminated, the globes are mounted on high poles fairly close together so that the light stays constant, and the eyes are not continuously readjusting for different levels of brightness, when lights are out, the consistent lighting is interrupted making it harder for the driver to see clearly.

So is this an important Citizen issue?  You bet!  When a streetlight goes out it is imperative that it be reported and replaced as quickly as possible, how easy or how difficult that is depends on the city in which you live.  Having an easy to use mobile app to do this is something that is slowly being adopted by City Management.  This innovative way to participate in your city’s efficiency should be on the list to bring to your City Councillor’s or Mayor’s attention.

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