Investigating Lighting Quality: Examining the Relationship between Perceived Safety and Pedestrian Lighting Environment

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Pedestrian lighting design is a very important part of urban lighting design. Appropriately designed pedestrian lighting can provide people with sense of safety and improve their quality of life. However, the exploration of people's needs and perceptions of pedestrian lighting is neglected. Most of the existing design guidelines are generated from designer centered perspectives.

This study aims at creating new perspectives in pedestrian lighting study. In this study, lighting quality is investigated through a behavioral science approach by examining the relationship between the lighting attributes and people's perceived safety. Primary research objectives include identifying important attributes of the lighting environment, examining their influence on people's perceived safety, and exploring the impacts of pedestrian's individual characteristics in this perceptual process. In order to fulfill the research objectives, this thesis comprises an online survey that aims to discover the environmental perceptions of the people from Virginia Tech towards the nighttime pedestrian footpath scenes of the campus.

The findings from the online survey indicate that important lighting attributes influencing people's perceived safety are identified as: uniformity, facial recognition, concealment and perceived brightness. The findings further indicate that some environmental context attributes, environmental perception attributes, and socio-demographic attributes also significantly influence people's perceived safety. Several design guidelines are provided for future lighting design practice.



lighting, pedestrian environment, perceived safety, environmental perception, lighting design