Assessing the pedestrian response to urban outdoor lighting: A full-scale laboratory study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study identifies and applies methods for evaluating the human response to pedestrian lighting applications intended for future use by the municipality of Malmö, Sweden. The methods employed provide a supplementary perspective to that given by the photometric properties of the lighting applications. The study involved 89 participants from two age groups (Young: N: 43, 19–31 yrs.; Elderly: N: 46, 62–77 yrs.). Data were collected in a full-scale laboratory using a mock-up pedestrian pathway. Three lighting applications (one ceramic metal halide and two LED) were presented and the participants’ behavior (walking speed), perception (ability to perform visual tasks–recognize facial expressions, detect obstacles, read street signpost), affective response, and evaluation of the lighting quality were assessed.

The three lighting applications significantly differed with regard to the human response. The facial expression recognition distance, sign reading distance and the obstacle detection task, along with the evaluation of lighting quality and level of arousal, distinguished one of the LEDs (Correlated Color Temperature: 3810, Color Rendering Index: 75, Scotopic/Photopic ratio: 1.48) from the other two lighting applications–the participants performed better on the visual tasks, and the lighting was perceived as brighter, more arousing and less pleasant. Methods to capture human perception, evaluation and behavior in relation to outdoor lighting, provide a valuable perspective that should be systematically applied when municipalities consider different pedestrian lighting applications.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Applied Psychology


  • Lighting
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0204638
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 4
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Johan Rahm, 2019 May 17, Lund: Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Lund University.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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