UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Apply for our fully Funded PhD Studentship in Lighting for Safer Streets

5 June 2017

UCL IEDE invites applications for a fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in the role of street lighting in reducing vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

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The UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering invites applications for a fully funded (UK/EU fees plus stipend) 4-year PhD studentship funded by EPSRC.

General Information:
Title: The role of street lighting in reducing vehicle and pedestrian collisions.
Supervisors: Dr Jemima Unwin, Lecturer in Light and Lighting at UCL-IEDE and Mr Peter Raynham, Senior Lecturer in Light and Lighting at UCL-IEDE
Stipend: approx. £16,550 & UK/EU fees & annual research budget of £1000 /yr, and you will also be able to apply for additional funding to UCL schemes to cover extra costs of training and travel
Start Day: September/October 2017
Funding Duration: 4 years
Eligibility: Candidates must be either UK residents or EU residents who have been living in the UK for 3 years prior to the course commencing. Please check EPSRC guidelines on student eligibility

The design of street lighting is a nationwide engineering challenge which offers many possibilities for energy saving. However, there is little empirical evidence on how these measures affect pedestrian and driver behaviour, and whether lighting conditions play a role in circumstances which lead to collisions. The aim of this project is to provide understanding to inform lighting engineering solutions, by (1) ascertaining how street lighting affects the conspicuity of pedestrians to drivers after dark in urban environments and (2) defining how critical pedestrian decision making is affected by the lighting of the street scene. This fundamental research is essential to inform the planning of street furniture infrastructure which will form the spine of smart cities of the future.
In your PhD you will be expected to firstly, establish the parameters (spatial and temporal) within which street lighting influences vehicle on pedestrian accident occurrence. Secondly you will determine whether street lighting can affect behaviour such as travel speed and other aspects of pedestrian and driver decision making, for example hesitancy in crossing a road. These objectives will be met using three methods. Firstly completing a database and network analysis of existing traffic accidents, secondly, by completing driver and pedestrian behaviour observations, using eye tracking, and thirdly, by conducting interviews and surveys of local authorities and street users.
To undertake this research you are required to undertake statistical analysis of accident incidence. Identify and visit sites where accidents are clustered to record lighting conditions using a luminance camera, measure ambient sound and model spatial characteristics. Assess and distill  information gathered from local authorities and street users.

The project outputs are expected to be:
• Description of illuminance intensity and distribution for pedestrian and driver comfort in different spatial configurations.
• Statement of how variable/dynamic street lighting can respond to pedestrian, driver and cyclist needs, without reducing conspicuity.
• Identification of characteristics of areas in which dimming and switch off are acceptable and will not increase accident occurrence.
• Stating where and when an interactive street lighting interface is appropriate, and sensor location and capability.
• Define spatial and environmental characterisation parameters within which street lighting interventions are applicable. This will extend the definition of zones in existing lighting guidance currently limited to traffic speed.
• Define the role of scene legibility in pedestrian and vehicle conspicuity.
• Provide a street furniture guide.

This research project will give you the opportunity to conduct important research on problems of visibility and legibility for pedestrians and drivers on the streets at night. This information can be used to design strategies to improve lighting and the night time visual environment. Collectively the results will describe how lighting design can improve the accessibility and safety of urban environments, by enabling designers and engineers to plan location specific engineering solutions to help pedestrians and drivers obtain the information they need from a street scene, as quickly as possible. This will lead to better engineering of road lighting infrastructure, which in turn will inform the digital economy and save energy.

Person Specification:
• Passionate about data analysis and conducting research using a range of quantitative and qualitative methods
• An MSc degree in light and lighting, engineering, architecture, statistics or other data analysis discipline.
• Interest in the built environment, environmental issues, energy, lighting design and engineering solutions.
• Willingness to acquire relevant software skills
• Ability to understand and interpret complex relationships such as that between human behaviour and the visual scene and clearly communicate the results to a non-scientific audience
• Ability to use own initiative and prioritise workload
• Good interpersonal and communication skills (oral and written)
• A high level of attention to detail in working methods
• Ability to liaise directly with project partners such as local authorities and engineering consultants.

Application procedure:

A two-stage application procedure is in place.
Stage 1. Pre-application documents - (1) CV, (2) academic transcripts, and (3) 1-page personal statement outlining motivation, interest and eligibility for the post - should be emailed directly to Mae Oroszlany (e.oroszlany@ucl.ac.uk)  and Dr Jemima Unwin (jemima.unwin@ucl.ac.uk).

Stage 2. Following the interview, the successful candidate will be invited to make a formal application to the UCL Research Degree programme.
Any offer made will be subject to references and proof of meeting the UCL English language requirements

Informal enquiries on the content of the research topic should be emailed to Dr Jemima Unwin (jemima.unwin@ucl.ac.uk)

Deadline for application: 07 July 2017 12.00 noon (BST)
Interviews week starting: 17 July 2017