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Street light study reveals intersections with less lights tend to be more dangerous

Bakersfield Street Lights
Posted at 10:45 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 10:40:28-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — We have more than 17,000 street lights within Bakersfield, but some areas are darker than others, leaving some to wonder will increased lighting lead to fewer accidents and crime on our local roads?

"They came to the conclusion that most dangerous intersections at night are the darkest, and intersections with higher average light levels tend to be safer,” said Public Works Director Nick Fiddler.

Public Works Director Nick Fiddler addressed council members in a meeting Wednesday night to present findings on a street light study done through JMPE, an electrical company that reviewed 56 intersections within the city.

“They found that multiple studies have linked increased lighting to a reduction of nighttime collision incidents among vehicles pedestrians and bicyclist.”

But Fiddler says those studies show that increased lighting alone is enough to reduce crime, but it could help.

“Creates a safe feeling in the community space, as people feel safer, more people circulate through space at night increase pedestrian circulation will typically improve security.”

Those with the electrical company physically went out to areas of concern and measured some of the lighting.

“They went through and did a 10-foot grid in some of these higher accident areas and light areas to see what the light readings were. To see how the light played a role in these accidents .”

JMPE also worked with the Bakersfield Police Department, Public Works Traffic, and Engineering Division, and JMPE. They analyzed incident reports from January 1st of 2015 to December 31st of 2019.

“We used 11 data points for incidents ranging from direction, travel, date-time type of vehicle. Those are all data the police department collects when they're at the scene.”

And while they're only in phase one of the process, the team found that the city increase in light levels at each intersection studied, if the city hopes to reduce road incidents.

“They programmed originally $100,000 into the street light study. We have enough already to get through phase 1 implementation and most of the projects in phase 1, so they'll be starting the design of those intersections and some of those improvements in phase 1 but we will come back and amend their agreement to start phase 2.”

Fiddler says they will continue to work closely with the police department.

We of course will have all the latest updates as they become available.