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Public lighting

What is public lighting?

Any luminous power projected onto an open space (a road, street, park, or beach) for public use is considered public lighting. It is generally state responsibility, though it may be managed privately through concessions. It’s the opposite of lighting in private spaces.

How did public lighting come to be?

Among the many extravagances of France’s King Louis XIV, perhaps the only one that immediately had a direct, positive impact on the people of France was the creation of street lighting. Known as the Sun King, Louis XIV decided to gift Parisians with a system of 2,700 oil lanterns hung throughout the city.

This is how Paris earned the nickname the “City of Light,” as it was the first lighted city in the world. The capital laid the foundations for the city as we now know it. Thanks to public lighting, Paris became a relatively safe city at nighttime, and businesses began to create shop windows to display their wares to passers-by.

What does public lighting look like today?

Street lighting has evolved rapidly from the oil lamps of the 17th century to the solar panels of the 21st century. Over time, public lighting has been taken for granted, and how it’s done has become particularly important. Nowadays, energy efficiency and the environmental footprint this lighting entails carry a lot of weight.

Currently, small cities and large metropolises share an interest in smart monitoring and management of their public lighting networks; the aim is to make them as efficient as possible. Ferrovial has worked alongside several city councils to manage energy efficiency and integrate public lighting services with LED lamps and remote controls. 

What are the benefits of public lighting with LEDs?

The main factor that sets LED lighting apart from various traditional lighting technologies is its energy efficiency, which entails a host of ecological and social benefits:

  • It gives off superior quality light.
  • It reduces light pollution.
  • It doesn’t contain any mercury.
  • It doesn’t generate infrared or ultraviolet rays.
  • It doesn’t emit heat.
  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • It has high thermal resistance, meaning it’s not sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.
  • It comes in a wide variety of designs, so it’s suitable to use in front of monuments and old or modern buildings, all without clashing aesthetically.
  • It increases visibility, helping to reduce traffic accidents.

What will the public lighting of the future look like?

In the future, LED public lighting will be the standard. Its main attraction is higher energy efficiency due to its low consumption and low maintenance costs: LED lights require 52% less energy than conventional high-pressure sodium-vapor lamps, and they have a service life of over 50,000 hours. 

Street lighting is likely to become increasingly smart, integrating special controls and sensors, apps, rapid reporting methods for service outages, and many other innovations, all geared towards maximum efficiency.

What are the brightest cities on the planet?

Hong Kong, China; New York, U.S.; New Delhi, India; Tokyo, Japan

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