Best practice for lightingPrint

Decide if the site needs lighting

When considering lighting for pedestrians and cyclists, prioritise routes that have:
  • the most users
  • the best connections to main streets
  • the shortest distance
  • the most visibility throughout the site
  • incorporated other safe design principles.

Sites that should not be lit

  • Sites that do not fulfil the criteria above should not be lit. Instead, lighting should be used on alternative, safer paths. An exception to this would be if it was the only key transport route.
  • Given that they will be largely empty at night, local reserves, parks, and playgrounds should not be lit outside of daylight hours to avoid giving visitors a false sense of safety. Also, activity at night should be reduced in these areas to avoid disturbing any neighbours. 
    • Sports parks are an exception to this rule.
  • Other benefits to omitting lighting include saving energy, reducing light pollution, and not disturbing nocturnal cycles of local fauna. 

Lighting attributes

Light temperature is a measurement of its colour. Higher values indicate whiter lighting, while lower values are warmer, yellower tones. 

Bright white light
Brighter, whiter lighting helps people see more clearly and perceive colours more accurately at night. In an environment, this could translate to greater safety as it would allow people to read details in their surroundings, such as signs, people’s facial expressions, or small objects. LED lights generally produce white light and are more efficient in terms of energy consumption, more advanced lighting level controls, and durability.​

Warmer light
Although warmer light may produce a similar brightness to that of higher lighting temperatures, it lowers our ability to see details, and is therefore less suited to environmental lightning at night. Warmer yellow light is generally produced by sodium-vapour lamps. 

Lighting brightness
Lighting brightness is measured by lux levels. Selecting appropriate brightness depends on what the light will be illuminating. The more activities that are expected to take place in the environment, the higher the lux levels should be. AS/NZS 1158 outlines the standards for pedestrian and vehicle lighting levels. 

Choosing lighting height
When selecting the height at which lights are placed, consider creating conditions where optimal visibility is experienced at pedestrian eye level, which is roughly 1.5m. Be aware of any shadows created and how they may affect the lighting on objects and people. 

General ​​​lig​​hting ​controls

  • Provide adequate lighting in public spaces so people can identify another person from at least 15 metres distance.
  • Minimise hazards to pedestrian and cyclists by adequately lighting the spatial features such as bins, planters, street furniture and changes in grade of the path.
  • Choose lighting equipment that is vandal resistant in terms of material, design and location.
  • Avoid over-lighting, glare and upwards spill lighting.
  • Light all recesses, entrances and egress points of areas should be well lit, as should the areas around these. All potential night-time concealment spots needs to be lit where access to them cannot be secured.
  • Provide complementary lighting to facilitate progressive transition of the light in the areas that have an abrupt change from high light to low light.


Auckland Transport Code of Practice

Lighting on streets and in public spaces should follow the Auckland Transport Code of Practice (Section 19). Some of the key points to consider are:
  • Lighting, including brightness and colour, should be designed based on the level and type of activities in the space.
  • Lighting should assist people to clearly see the environment and identify any threats.
  • Lighting design should enable people to see the faces of approaching figures within a reasonable distance (between 15-25 metres). This requires uniform lighting at pedestrian eye level.
  • To achieve the above, lighting sources should be mounted above an average person’s height.
  • The lighting should not create glare at eye level.
  • Light that falls on the ground (horizontal illuminance) and that which falls on walls (vertical illuminance) should be of equal levels. Light coming from multiple directions diminishes harsh shadows, creating a more evenly lit environment.
  • Place lighting sources where there is minimal obstruction from vegetation, tree canopies, or any other barriers that may reduce the effectiveness of lighting.
  • Use transition zones, so that eyes can adapt to the change of lighting levels between two areas. 

Spaces with specific requirements
  • Street lighting ​should be designed in accordance with  Auckland Transport requirements. As a rule of thumb:
    • All footpaths, walkways, shared paths, and lanes adjacent to roads shall be lit to comply with the standards of lighting category P2 of AS/NZS1158.3 
    • The lighting design under street verandahs shall comply with the standards of lighting category P7 of AS/NZS1158.3.1: 1991​.
  • Public waiting areas ​such as train stations, bus stops, taxi stands and other public amenities such as public toilets:
    • The immediate area and the surrounding area within 15 metres should be appropriately lit to comply with the standards of lighting category P7 of AS/NZS1158.3.1: 1991.
    • As a rule of thumb, best is to light such areas to 30 lux or higher with a minimum uniformity ratio of 0.5 within the immediate area.
  • Internal accessways should be adequately lit. The accessways to carparks and through-site links, which 
    • Do not have a level change (no stairs, lifts or escalators) shall be lit to comply with the standards of lighting category P6 of AS/NZS1158.3.1: 1991.
    • Have a level change shall be lit to comply with the lighting standards of lighting category P10 of AS/NZS1158.3.1:1991.
  • Communal areas should be lit appropriately to provide adequate visibility after dark but should not create nuisance for the residents (refer to AS/NZS 4282-1997).
  • Lighting in parks when deemed NECESSARY should be designed to:
    • Be in accord with the existing landscape and the proposed planting schedules in order to avoid lights being obscured by trees and vegetation immediately or at the maturity of the plants.
    • Light the main route and any amenities for public use such as public toilets. 
    • Delineate the route through vegetation and trees. If there are entrapment spots or concealment areas along the route, they need to be designed out or adequately illuminated.
    • Illuminate the movement corridors (footpaths, shared paths, cycleways), which are intended to be used after dark shall be lit to comply with the standards of lighting category P1 of AS/NZS1158.3.1:1991.
  • Carpark lighting should be uniform and bright white in colour to enable colour identification of cars and visibility within them. It should also produce high vertical lighting to create maximum visibility on potential offenders and deter them:
    • Internal and external carparks shall be lit to comply with the standards of lighting category P11 of AS/NZS1158.3.1:1991. 
    • Designated parking spaces for people with disabilities or families shall be lit to comply with lighting category P12 of AS/NZS1158.3.1:1991. ​​
    • For internal carparks, the lighting design should at least produce 50lux at a minimum uniformity ratio of 0.3 is required (refer to AS/NZS 1680 interior lighting part 1 section 1).
    • For external carparks, the lighting design should at least produce 10-15 lux at a minimum uniformity ration of 0.4 is required. 
    • The accessways to carparks and any footpaths adjacent to carparks should also be adequately lit to allow for visibility of any potential threat.​
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