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10 best practices for transportation lighting projects

Aug 26, 2020

Happy travels

Despite recent travel restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, transportation is an integral part of the modern world we live in – and increasingly so. Keeping people, vehicles and goods moving smoothly at seaports and airports, at train, tram, bus stations and more calls for effective indoor and outdoor lighting solutions. Whether for clarity and safety, guidance and orientation, a feeling of security or simply to enhance the experience, light moves us in many ways. Happy travels!

Planning a transportation lighting project? Thorn has designed, implemented and managed many. Here are ten important points to keep in mind.

10 best practices for transportation lighting projects

1. What fits best?

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan.” – Pablo Picasso

Thorough planning is pivotal for the success of any project. Having a clear understanding in advance of the lighting requirements and objectives saves time, costs, not to mention headaches. Thorn can provide assistance from day one in determining what fits best for a planned project. Drawing on decades of experience and with the help of highly advanced planning tools, it takes all factors into consideration in designing optimal lighting solutions for all types of transportation applications and environments that benefit people, places and the environment in equal measure.

2. Does it foster safe movement?

First and foremost, transportation lighting must support the safe movement of people, vehicles and goods from one place to another. This involves accent lighting to help travellers quickly identify potential hazards such as escalators or the highlighting of directional signage for better wayfinding. Appropriate illuminance levels and uniformity, both internally and externally, are crucial for good facial recognition and overall facility security. Many infrastructures have very specific lighting safety requirements. At seaport loading areas, for example, lighting solutions should be positioned to provide good visibility of containers, signs and access routes while not obstructing operations. Edges between the quay and the water, also kerbs and related areas frequently require special highlighting. The use of vertical illuminance, for instance, on guard rails is thereby just as important as horizontal lighting. Like the powerful Altis floodlight, Thor Bollard and Eyekon bulkhead from Thorn, transport lighting solutions should also be durable and reliable.

3. Does it meet relevant standards?

All lighting installations must fulfil defined requirements in lighting codes or standards regarding illuminance levels, uniformity, glare restrictions and colour properties of the light sources used. Transportation lighting is no exception. In detail, these codes frequently vary from country to country. In Europe, for example, requirements for indoor and outdoor workplaces are defined by the standards EN 12464-1 and EN 12464-2. Thorn specialists are highly trained and well-versed in all lighting codes.

4. Are the transitions smooth?

Transportation environments combine various layered and task-specific lighting scenarios. Intelligent solutions available today can be customised and programmed to actively adapt themselves to individual lighting situations, enabling travellers and vehicles to transition smoothly from one to the other – for example, from dimly lit external areas to brightly lit internal environments. Control systems capable of automatically adjusting illuminance levels based on natural light levels are a basic requirement for building threshold areas at many transportation facilities.

5. Does it fulfil aesthetic demands?

From shopping outlets to bars, restaurants, hotels, business meeting centres and more – today’s airports and other transportation complexes serve many different kinds of functions in addition to being transit areas. Whether to create a pleasant shopping or dining atmosphere, subtly accentuate a rest and relaxation area, or to dramatically showcase the architecture of a venue, lighting is key for enhancing the overall travel experience. Vertical illumination for brightening walls, ceilings as well as entrance and exit zones is especially important given the fact that people at transportation hubs spend most of the time walking and waiting.

6. What light pollution protection does it offer?

Large transportation centres such as airports operate around the clock. In most instances, they are located on the outskirts of cities, frequently near environmentally sensitive areas such as grasslands or forests. It is essential that lighting installations are designed to minimise the impact of sky glow and obtrusive light to adjoining surrounds and buildings. Care must also be taken to position lights so as to reduce glare effects that could be harmful for pilots and the flow of traffic. As a result, asymmetric floodlights from Thorn are tilted at an angle of between 0 and 5°. Champion, for example, features optics that focus the light so precisely that spill light is kept to an absolute minimum.

7. How cost-effective is it?

Energy efficiency is a significant factor for the success of any transportation operation, not only those with high lighting demands such as airports. Modern LED luminaires and control technologies such as dimmers, daylight timers and motion sensors can greatly reduce overall electricity consumption without compromising performance and safety. Thorn has several energy-efficient solutions, both for indoor and outdoor applications. One example: HiPak, an LED high bay for spaces with high ceilings such as airport terminals. With its outstanding lumen output and overall efficiency, it requires but half the number of light points of comparable high bays. HiPak is also available in DALI, motion and daylight sensor versions, thereby enabling further energy savings.

8. Is it easy to control?

As with other frequented facilities, lighting requirements at transportation hubs tend to vary throughout the day based on traffic volumes, the weather and other factors. Sophisticated lighting controls accommodate all types of variations, automatically adjusting illumination levels to meet changing demands. They also offer great flexibility and excellent energy savings. At bus and tram stations as well as less-populated parking lots, smart controls provide an easy, cost-effective way for creating a positive, reassuring presence. Thorn offers a variety of control solutions, including DALI and DMX, that can be customised to support wide-ranging lighting scenarios and effects.

9. What about maintenance?

All lighting installations require servicing from time to time to ensure optimal performance. Accordingly, lighting fixtures and fittings should be built to enable easy cleaning and maintenance. Smart design features support simple installation and replacement, also easy access to switches, control gear and electrical connections. Products like the LED floodlight Areaflood Pro from Thorn are even less demanding. Having a rated lifetime of over 100k hours on both the drivers and LEDs, it requires only minimal maintenance.

10. Is a turnkey solution a good investment?

In a word: Yes. Commissioning one contractor with handling all of the deliverables and stages of a transportation lighting project offers a number of advantages. Most importantly, it gives clients the peace of mind of knowing that everything will be completed efficiently, cost-effectively, on time and in compliance with relevant lighting requirements. From project planning and design to input delivery, installation, coordination, commissioning and maintenance, Thorn covers it all.

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