Lighting the way to your next destination

LightingDave Ellis of OSRAM, looks at why lighting is so important in transportation facilities and discusses the latest solutions available to provide optimum lighting conditions

When you are on the move, lighting plays a key role in guiding you to your destination. Whether you are moving through an airport, train station or bus terminal, the lighting scheme must be carefully specified to create a safe, fluid environment.

Travel is an experience. Whether it is for business or pleasure, the people travelling through airports and train stations have a clear purpose and the lighting used can enhance the experience for them. For business travel, people generally want fast, efficient movement so well lit spaces and clear signage is the order of the day. For those travelling for pleasure, a more relaxed environment is required. This is where shops, bars and restaurants can look at playing with their lighting schemes to create unique designs that draw customers in.

Essential aspects
When you are specifying the lighting scheme for a transportation facility there are a few different aspects that must be taken into account. Firstly, it is essential that the lighting is welcoming and creates a bright and airy space. Secondly, health and safety considerations must be taken into account due to the volume of people moving around these spaces on any given day. This means the lighting must be adequate and all signage should be illuminated very clearly to move people around safely and efficiently.

Aside from using efficient, high performance lighting solutions for general illumination, dynamic lighting should be used for other applications to bring the building to life. Whether this is flood lighting the exterior of a terminal or station to highlight it as a landmark in the surrounding area, or creating mood lighting in its shops and restaurants, colour changing lighting schemes can play a big part.

The main areas of most airports will need to be lit 24/7 which can be a significant drain on resources if light is not used sensibly. Where large windows are in place, natural daylight can be harnessed by installing sensors that measure the amount of daylight entering the building and only supplement this with artificial daylight when the light drops below a predefined level.

When artificial light is required, the latest lighting solutions are extremely efficient. From metal halide lamps, to T5 triphosphor fluorescent tubes and the latest LED luminaires for general lighting applications, you can achieve optimum building illumination using solutions that last longer and use less energy that their predecessors. This reduces overhead costs by lowering energy bills and maintenance costs.

Outside the main areas, some departure gates are only used at certain times during the day. To optimise efficiency in these parts of the building, flight data can be combined with building management systems to trigger the heating and lighting systems to go on prior to the gate being used. When a gate is not in use, these systems would switch off to reap savings.

Train stations
At any train station, the platforms must be well illuminated to allow people to board and disembark their train safely. As these platforms are exposed to weather conditions that can range from sweltering heat at the height of summer to freezing condition in the winter, the lighting here should be carefully considered.

There are T5 CONSTANT fluorescent tubes that have been engineered to withstand a wider than usual temperature range. In extreme temperatures, these tubes operate to their maximum efficiency so you can rest assured that passengers are not being left in the dark because the weather conditions have caused lamp failure.

With transportation facilities, we are often talking about very large structures that are hard to manage. When it comes to the lighting scheme, there are easy-to-use feedback systems available that let you know when a lamp has failed so that it can be replaced quickly. With these systems, you can monitor the status of every single light point from a central location which simplifies one aspect of the facilities management process.

When you are on the move, you need the lighting to guide you around the building and get you to the right platform or departure gate without incident. By installing the latest lighting solutions, transportation hubs can optimise their lighting schemes while reducing their overhead costs so there is no reason not to make the switch. Whether you are rushing through on your way to a meeting or looking for a place to relax and unwind as you head off on holiday, the lighting in transportation facilities plays a huge part in setting the right tone to get you to your destination.

Written by Dave Ellis, national sales manager – Specification at OSRAM

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