The right fit to see the road better

The Italian Metrology Institute launches a green project to reduce the risk of road accidents

November 24th, 2017 | Partnership

Exterior lighting

Providing knowledge to better illuminate every asphalted road, should help reducing the risk of accidents and limiting energy consumption. This is the goal of a project on which the National Institute in Turin will work over the next three years. With this project, INRIM has just won one of the EMPIR, the European Metrology Research Program. 

In Europe, there are 5.5 million kilometers of paved roads, of which approximately 40% are equipped with night lighting systems subject to European regulations. To design a street lighting system, ie to know how much light and how many lanterns are needed to ensure the good night vision required, many aspects need to be considered. For example, the specific asphalt of that road will reflect the light in the eyes of motorists. And then how they light up the lights on the road or at the edge of the vehicles.


"The right lighting of the night environment determines the ability to distinguish the road from the surrounding terrain and to detect any obstacles on the roadway," says Paola Iacomussi of INRIM, coordinator of the project, called "Pavement Surface Characterization for Smart and Effective Road Lighting. But the data on which European law is based date back to forty years,"".

continues INRIM researcher.


"They are therefore overcome and useless. Just think of how different cars are now from the vehicles of the 1970s and how traffic conditions have changed.

The asphalt composition and the color and amount of light they can reflect, that is their photometric properties, has also changed. Today, we also have intelligent lighting and lighting systems(smart lighting), which regulate the emission of light depending on the ambient or traffic conditions. We have lanterns that illuminate only where it serves, avoiding to disperse unnecessarily light upwards. There are then autonomous driving cars that 'see' differently from us. "
The SURFACE project promises to update the photometric properties of modern asphalt and will, therefore, apply the legislation in a correct way, realizing energy-efficient, in terms of street visibility, and above all, safer.

"Improving driving conditions through increased nighttime roadside visibility will help reduce accidents"Paola Iacomussi points out," SURFACE lends itself to accepting one of the European Union's road safety issues: reducing the number of casualties in the decade 2010-2020 by 50%. "

Based on up-to-date data, you can also lower energy consumption. It is expected to save 40%, adding another 70% thanks to the combined use of LEDs and smart lighting.

"We are better to measure than forty years ago: we only have to coordinate our capabilities at European level and in the near future we can say farewell to over-sized systems, even if we are sure to have enough light,"

concludes the scholar.
INRIM will coordinate a team that includes the Metrology Institutes of Finland, France, Lithuania, Sweden and Switzerland and three industrial partners : the Center for Ethics and Excellence in Surveying, Environnement, Mobility and Amenagement (CEREMA), the Swiss company Zehnter, which operates in the field of design and manufacture of portable measuring systems, and the French OPTIS, which develops driving simulators and software for optical simulation.
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