LEDs in the roadway modernization strategy
In August 2011 Prime Minister Vladimir Putin initiated the Russian roadway development strategy: by 2022 the roadway network should comprise 2 million kilometers, and all existing and unserviceable roads should be renovated and modernized. An integral part of roadway network modernization is replacement of the roadway lighting.
Road lighting level influence on the number of RTAs has been proved by many challenges in different countries. For instance, research from USA, Great Britain, Sweden and Germany has found that on well-lit track sections as compared to other tracks deaths in RTAs are 65% less and the number of RTAs involving pedestrians is 50% less.
In addition, in Germany and Netherlands the researches were carried out proving the inversely proportional dependence of the numbers of RTAs on the level of illumination: increasing the lighting level by 2-5 times reduces the RTA number by 10%. As a result, the experts have concluded that trunk road lighting should be constantly turned on (especially at night) in order to minimize the possibility of various road accidents.
Features of roadway lighting fixtures currently installed on most sections of the RF roadway network do not allow it to be used around the clock throughout the country. There are several reasons: firstly, gas-discharge mercury and sodium lamps commonly used for road lighting (MCS 400 W or HPS 250 W) have a relatively low light output at a high level of energy consumption.
Guided by the need for energy saving municipal administrations are forced to turn off every second lighting fixture after dark, which adversely affects the illumination of the roadway. Secondly, at low temperatures gas-discharge lamps are more likely to show even lower light output, and by decreasing the temperature to -30°C and lower the lighting may not turn on. Thirdly, lamps with traditional light sources require constant maintenance: replacement, cleaning and complex disposal, because they contain mercury.
In foreign countries the problem of energy saving without loss of roadway lighting quality is solved through replacement of conventional light sources with LED lamps.
In Russia the movement within the global trend is also noticeable. The law on energy saving at federal level was adopted. At administration level more attention has been paid to advanced lighting technologies that save energy due to higher efficiency of the light source. Moreover, in some regions some modern projects on replacement of conventional street lamps to modern energy-saving LED lighting fixtures have already been implemented.
One example of such project is the “Ulan-Ude – Baikal airport” highway, for which the domestic company, AtomSvet, introduced innovative lighting fixtures. In autumn 2011 along the highway 100 MCS 400 W lighting fixtures were replaced by AtomSvet® Plant 03-100-13600-140 (W1) LED liminaires. As a result, 189,800 kWh are saved for 3.5 km of road per year. In accordance with existing tariffs this equals about 650,000 rubles. It should be noted that the choice of AtomSvet® lighting fixtures for this project was not accidental since the manufacturer had proved that its products can operate in the harsh climatic conditions of Buryatia, where the average temperature in January is likely to fall below -30°C, and the maximum temperature in summer often reaches +40°C.
An additional advantage is that the colour rendering index of LED lighting fixtures is twice as good as the existing luminaires with mercury lamps, significantly reducing the driver fatigue.
AtomSvet’s experience shows that domestic business possesses all the necessary innovative solutions and practical experience for installing them. It is left only to establish interaction between business representatives and government.
At the moment, the only obstacle for the widespread introduction of high-tech lighting fixtures is the price of LED equipment. However, the results of completed projects and research suggest that the installation of energy-efficient lighting is an investment that will pay back quickly: it is estimated that replacement of the lighting fixtures on “Ulan-Ude - Baikal Airport" track will pay back within 3 years, while the lifetime of installed AtomSvet luminaires is minimum 12 years. But the most important is that high quality road lighting will save lives and health of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
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