UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Pedestrian Flows

Do external lighting conditions affect pedestrian movement? An epidemiological study.

Image of people walking in a lit street at night

12 July 2023

The night-time appearance of major cities across the world is changing as existing street lighting stock is replaced with LED luminaires which affect the distribution and colour of light. Local Authorities in the UK are more than halfway through a forty per cent reduction in funding from central government which leads to scrutiny of running costs including street lighting. Decisions regarding when, where and whether to dim or switch off street lighting are difficult when the effect on street use is unquantified. No research to date has examined the fundamental question of whether street lighting can influence pedestrian movement on a large scale, although previous work has found that changes occur in people’s route-taking patterns between night and day. Therefore the aim is to ascertain whether external lighting conditions affect people movement through a detailed study of pedestrian route-taking patterns during daylight and after dark either side of the clock change in Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017. This work is funded by EPSRC grant 75552 worth £29841.


Jemima Unwin Teji
Lecturer in Light and Lighting
Light and Lighting Msc Programme Director
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Phil Symonds
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