Linking nighttime outdoor lighting attributes to pedestrians’ feeling of safety: An interactive survey approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public space lighting (PSL) contributes to pedestrians’ feeling of safety (FoS) in urban areas after natural dark. However, little is known how different PSL attributes, such as illuminance, light temperature, uniformity and glare, affect people’s FoS in different contextual settings. The present study aims to bridge this knowledge gap by developing a model linking different PSL attributes with FoS, while controlling for individual, locational, environmental and temporal factors. To develop such model, the study employs a novel interactive user-oriented method, based on a specially-designed mobile phone application–CityLightsTM. Using this app, a representative sample of observers reported their impressions of PSL attributes and FoS in three cities in Israel, following a set of predetermined routes and points. As the study shows, higher levels of illumination and uniformity positively affect FoS, while lights perceived as warm tend to generate higher FoS than lights perceived as cold. These findings may guide future illumination polices aimed at promoting energy efficiency while ensuring urban sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0242172
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant number 400/18). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Portnov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • City Planning/standards
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Mobile Applications
  • Pedestrians/psychology
  • Photoperiod
  • Public Facilities
  • Safety
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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