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Improving driver safety: How to prevent streetlight glare in the new world of LED lighting
Date:7/18/2014

WASHINGTON, July 18Long hours of nighttime driving can cause eyestrain because while our vision adapts to the surrounding darkness, the sudden stabs of brightness from streetlamps can be irritating, distracting and even painful. Even as LED technology has transformed the lighting industry, bringing the promise of more energy-efficient road illumination, some fear that the new lights could cause even more troublesome, unsafe glare.

A team of researchers from China and the Netherlands has developed a way to evaluate the human impact of uncomfortable glare caused by LED road lights. They created a model that can predict the level of discomfort experienced by drivers under various lighting conditions. The team today reported their findings, which could guide streetlight placement and design, in The Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express .

"With the development of the LED industry, there is no doubt that more and more LED lights will be used for road lighting," said Yandan Lin, an associate professor and director of the Vision and Color Research Laboratory at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. "We believe that the lighting industry has an urgent need to update the ways to characterize discomfort glare caused by LED road lights."

Traditional ways of predicting how much a person will want to look away from a bright light, characterized by a term called discomfort glare, are based on the nature of conventional light sources and may not be appropriate for LED streetlights, Lin noted. For example, LEDs are designed to emit the same amount of light as conventional bulbs from a smaller area, which could possibly increase the discomfort glare. In addition, white LEDs typically have more energy in the blue part of spectrum, which can also cause more glare because blue light is perceived brighter by the human eye under the same light levels, based o
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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
The Optical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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