Imagine you’re living two thousand years ago. There are no LEDs, let alone standard lights. When darkness falls, you can see only by the moon and stars. On a cloudy night, you have trouble seeing your hand in front of your face.

If you’re lucky enough to be wealthy, you could use oil lamps around your home. And when you venture out in the dark, you could employ people to hold the lamps and walk ahead of you. This is all a long way from modern street lighting and LEDs.

Gas and electric street lighting

Gas street lighting first appeared a thousand years ago in the Arab Empire. Further developments didn’t occur for many years. Kerosene and electric lights only came to European streets in the 19th century.

In the UK, the first areas to have electric lighting were the Thames Embankment and Holborn Viaduct in London. The first street fully lit by electricity however, was Mosley Street in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The lamps used incandescent bulbs.

Modern street lighting with LEDs

The latest and most effective street lighting is still electric but uses LEDs. These cut costs by around 50%. What’s more, the bulbs are low maintenance. They last for an average of 50,000 hours.

According to research in Australia, modern street lighting with LEDs is also safer.

The LED bulbs cast a clear white light. This improves a driver’s peripheral vision, and boosts brake reaction time by 25%.

LEDs and public areas

LEDs are the latest in a centuries-old line of lighting systems for streets and paths. They’re also the best. It’s just a matter of time before LEDs appear in every public area and provide high-quality light for many years to come.

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