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Saving energy while maintaining the feeling of safety associated with urban street lighting


Street lighting (SL) forms a major share of municipal energy consumption and should thus be energy efficient. However, question of how much energy can be saved on SL without compromising on the feeling of safety (FoS), which SL helps to provide for pedestrians, poses a major challenge. To tackle this challenge, in this study, we attempt to determine the amount of energy that can potentially be saved by a proper selection of SL attributes, such as light color and uniformity, while preserving FoS by pedestrians. As the study indicates, using warmer lights and increasing light uniformity can result in 30–50% energy savings on SL. Using this assessment, we estimate that for medium-size cities with population of 200–400 K residents, energy savings on SL can reach 8–23 MWh per annum, which is equal to the output of a small-to-medium-size power plant. As we conclude, the study findings help to design more efficient SL systems that can promote urban residents’ well-being, while saving energy and contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable urban environment. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first that shows that energy on SL can be saved by using warmer lights and increasing light uniformity, while preserving a reasonable level of FoS.

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The researchers interested in gaining access to the data used in the study can ask for a de-identified dataset by contacting the Israel Science Foundation directly by email:


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This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant number 400/18).

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Correspondence to Boris A. Portnov.

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Conflict of interest

We declare hereby no conflict of interest regarding the paper.

Consent to participate

The participants consent was obtained individually from each participant online, by the survey company (Dialog Ltd.), as a precondition for participating in the survey.

Ethics approval

The study was approved by the ethics committee of the University of Haifa (Approval number 177/90).

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Appendix 1

See Table 5.

Table 5 Physical, environmental, and socio-demographic characteristics of the cities under study (as of 2018, unless stated otherwise)a

Appendix 2: Location of the survey neighborhoods and survey routes in the cities under study

See Figs. 6, 7, and 8.

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Tel Aviv-Yafo. a Neighborhoods surveyed: b “Nahalat Yitshak” (NY); c “HaTsafon HaHadash” (C); d “Neve Avivim” (NA); e “Ramat Aviv Ha-Hadasha” (RAH)

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Haifa. a Neighborhoods surveyed; b “Neot Peres” (NP); c “Ramat Ben Gurion” (RBG); d “Yizra’eliya” (Y)

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Beersheba. a Neighborhoods surveyed; b “Never Ze’ev” (NZ); c “Yud-Alef” (YA); d “Tet” (T)

Appendix 3

See Table 6.

Table 6 Research variables, their categories and coding

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Saad, R., Portnov, B.A. & Trop, T. Saving energy while maintaining the feeling of safety associated with urban street lighting. Clean Techn Environ Policy 23, 251–269 (2021).

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  • Street lighting (SL)
  • Feeling of safety (FoS)
  • Energy efficiency
  • Urban environment