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Essential Considerations for Complete Streets Planning and Design

By Frank Markowitz and Leni Schwendinger

Three-quarters of US pedestrian fatalities occur after dark, and the risk for each walk trip is at least four times greater at night.1, 2 The quality and placement of outdoor lighting is an important factor in the pattern of nighttime pedestrian injuries. In fact, the Vision Zero Network website stated that “clearly, improved lighting…. may be one of the more overlooked areas to boost the movement toward safety for all.”

Lighting is also important for the after-dark pedestrian environment for reasons beyond traffic safety. Well-designed lighting can increase pedestrian security and comfort; reduce falls; enhance the sense of place, aesthetics, and information; and increase economic activity. “Smart lighting” can extend benefits beyond just illumination, providing environmental and safety monitoring, traveler information, and electrical service.

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