By Marci Glover

Raised sources are the most preferred for lighting our towns, cities, road edges and walkways. In street lighting, the source of light is usually turned on and off at certain times. In modern times, lamps have photocells that are light-sensitive. Their work is to automatically turn on the light at night and off in the morning. Previously, solar dials aided this function. It is common for sources to be on tall poles connected with wires between them.

Before incandescent bulbs were invented, candle lighting was used in lighting cities. In the years that followed, bulbs were lit by people who went round the city every evening. They were then slightly improved to use an ignition machine that could strike fire automatically provided the supply of fuel was activated.

Streets were lit electrically for the first time when arc lamps were invented. Lamps fitted with carbon arcs made sure that electrodes in the bulbs were consumed concurrently. A departmental store in France employed this technology for a very long time. However, arc lights produced hostile and intense light that caused a lot of discomfort among city dwellers. Worse still, a lot of time and money was involved in their maintenance. They got outdated as soon as affordable, reliable and more luminous incandescent lamps were invented.

The operation of incandescent bulbs was often done using a lot of power through series arrangement of circuits. The high voltage carried by the circuits increased the usage of these lamps since they gave out more light per watt consumed. Series arrangement of circuits made controlling the bulbs less troublesome.

Currently, high intensity discharge lamps are used in lighting the streets. They are in most cases high pressure sodium lamps. They give out very large amounts of illumination while using little amounts of power. They are, however, inappropriate for lighting at night compared to white light. White light has been proven to help drivers see better at night, and react to brake faster than pressured sodium lamps.

Light induction is an example of new technology in street illumination. It emits white light that produces better lumen. This technology, therefore, enables lights that need less electricity and lumen to be used in place of current ones. Absence of formal specifications on these lights has rendered them useless for sometime awaiting approval. There has been a substantive acceptance of LED luminaries due to the confirmation that there energy-efficiency is higher than that of previous designs.

A harmonious system of photometry was created by coming up with two similar measurement systems. This was a good idea since less power is used compared to previous methods. It saves the cost involved in measurement. The new method; Outdoor Site-Lighting Performance predicts and measures three elements of light pollution: trespass, glow and glare. This method makes it possible for lighting technicians to quantify the working of current and planned illuminating designs and applications to cut down excessive illumination crossing the boundaries of a property.

Accidents can be prevented, and safety promoted through proper lighting on the streets. However, if caution is not taken, street illumination can turn out to be disastrous. Street users and drivers are likely to encounter night blindness; stray energy that may cause electrocution, and fatal collisions caused by poor lighting.

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