Lighting for pedestrian crossings: requirements and characteristics

By: Secom
23 de November, 2022
Reading time: 5 min

The lights at pedestrian crossings perform a key safety function. It is important to ensure visibility and avoid glare, but also guarantee efficiency and generate energy savings. There is a risk of collisions between vehicles and pedestrians at these points on our roads and this risk is further accentuated at night. The need for quality lighting, therefore, is paramount.

In this article we will talk about...

  • What purpose do the lights at pedestrian crossings serve?
  • Adapting to each space
  • SECOM street lighting

What purpose do the lights at pedestrian crossings serve?

Providing the right light at pedestrian crossings is the best way of enhancing safety and avoiding accidents. There are two main advantages:


If an accident occurs at a pedestrian crossing where there is little or no installed lighting, it is far more likely to be serious. Nowadays, we have modern systems that have come on in leaps and bounds compared to the ones we used to have. Today, we take the background from the driver and pedestrian’s perspective into account.

We aim for improved visibility for pedestrians as they step out into the road and we also know that it is very important for drivers to be able to see pedestrians at a distance. In fact, a vehicle travelling at 50 km an hour (31 miles an hour) needs around 45 metres to come to a halt.

Cruces peatonales luminarias


Visibility is linked to safety. When there is sufficient visibility, drivers have time to react if they detect a risk. It is the same for pedestrians crossing the road; if they detect a risk, they can step out of the way and avoid being run over.

Road surfaces are much shinier nowadays than they used to be. Consequently, we need to ensure there is enough contrast so that pedestrians can been seen at a distance. Nowadays, we tend to choose positive contrasts over negative contrasts. When we speak about positive contrasts, we are referring to objects that are brighter than their background. When an object is darker than its background, this is a negative contrast. In other words, what we actually see is a black outline.

Low energy consumption

Modern LED technology means that lighting systems with low energy consumption levels are an option. It can generate savings of around 50% compared with conventional lighting systems. Nowadays, there are very resistant luminaires with excellent features on the market.

Royal Decree 1890/2008 of 14 November implemented Spain’s energy efficiency in exterior lighting installations regulations. This includes street lighting around pedestrian crossings, which is marked out as a priority, particularly when there are no traffic lights. The regulations also set the minimum illuminance reference on the vertical plane at 40 Lux.

Adapting to each space

When it comes to illumination configuration, the following are important points that need to be considered:

Vertical light

Vertical light helps pedestrians see clearly. It means they can see signs and shapes and judge distances without there being any room for doubt. Drivers instinctively and naturally focus their attention on a point somewhere around 100 metres ahead. Their angle of vision is around 5 degrees in urban areas.

Therefore, lighting needs to ensure that drivers can see pedestrians as soon as their vehicle gets relatively close to the crossing. This is where this type of vertical lighting comes in. Since it shines on pedestrians, drivers can see them and react to avoid an accident.

Iluminación vertical cruces peatonales

Supplementary lights

We can guarantee horizontal light in addition to vertical light by using asymmetrical optics that cross over each other. It is a supplementary technique that helps increase visibility for pedestrians at a distance. It is also possible to add motion sensors to luminaires, which really make pedestrian crossings stand out. When there are vehicles or people in the area, the lights get brighter.

It is also possible to incorporate lights onto traffic signs. This makes them stand out and do the job they were designed to do.

Alternatives include optic modules with LED technology. These devices have a high photometric effect on the vertical plane. When they are combined with LED beacons, they improve visibility and safety quite significantly.

Avoiding glare

When it comes to the lights at pedestrian crossings, avoiding glare is a basic consideration. The Spanish regulations on energy efficiency for outdoor lights set a G2 glare limitation rating for the direction in which traffic is travelling. There is a G3 rating limitation for glare towards pedestrians. Street lights must be CE1-category lights in shopping and industrial areas, and CE2 in residential areas.

Iluminación vial pasos de peatones

SECOM street lighting

SECOM has a wide range of options for increasing visibility and safety at pedestrian crossings. Here are some examples:

Ecodut street lights

Ecodut, Ecodut K1 and Ecodut k2 luminaires are designed specifically for use outdoors. The design is classic and they have an NTC temperature control option. In addition to being incredibly efficient, they have LED technology and features that prevent light pollution.

Konak City street lights

These lights are robust and reliable. The design is rather innovative and the aesthetics have been optimised to make this luminaire ideal for streets. The quality of their electronic components stands out. They also have a transparent polycarbonate closure. In addition, the injected aluminium body favours heat dissipation.

MAGEC eonlight and eralight street lights

These products are incredibly resistant and, as such, ideal for use in coastal areas. That is, they can withstand extreme weather conditions and high humidity levels. The reason for this is that they are manufactured using special technopolymers.

This is just a small sample of devices in the extensive SECOM product catalogue. Lights at pedestrian crossings are quite simply the key to people’s safety and wellbeing. By choosing to install the best devices on the market, we can help avoid accidents. Furthermore, LED luminaires on pedestrian crossings foster huge energy savings.

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