News – What`s happening in energy research

read short description

Visitors can see the LED Walkway right beside the Technology Museum and Gleisdreieck Park in the heart of Berlin, around the clock. The photo shows a section of Ladestrasse with masts equipped with three lamps at different heights.
© TU Berlin, Fachgebiet Lichttechnik
LED street lighting

Custom light mast developed for test purposes with three arms to assess the lighting quality from different heights.
© TU Berlin, Fachgebiet Lichttechnik

Site map of the LED Walkway on the grounds of the German Technology Museum in Berlin.
© TU Berlin, Fachgebiet Lichttechnik

View of the LED Walkway from the main entrance.
© TU Berlin, Fachgebiet Lichttechnik

New lighting strategies for streets, footpaths and squares

LED is the future of street lighting. The LED Walkway on the grounds of Berlin’s Technology Museum, which opened in March 2015, demonstrates potential applications. The lighting technology developed allows the lighting level and light conditions to be adapted to external factors such as weather conditions and traffic volume. Spaces can now be set to a defined brightness with minimum stray light. The “StEffi Street Lighting” research project, launched in May, aims to develop and evaluate concepts for space-specific lighting and increase the potential savings with LED technology.

Unlike conventional lighting with gas discharge lamps, LED lighting can be customised for specific situations. As part of a research project, Berlin University of Technology (TU Berlin) planned and built a demonstration installation for LED outdoor lighting with other partners. Municipal decision makers and the public can learn about the opportunities offered by modern and efficient lighting for public spaces there. The project stakeholders answer questions on operations management, investment and follow-up costs right at the installation itself. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stephan Völker, Head of the Lighting Technology Faculty at TU Berlin, explained the advantages of creating customised street lighting at the launch of the LED Walkway: “It can significantly improve safety on our streets and residents’ sleep quality. We can significantly reduce the energy consumption and light emissions by only illuminating the spaces and properties that need light for greater safety or presentation purposes.”

It enables scientists to develop new lighting concepts under real conditions. For example, they are analysing which light distribution conditions make buildings and persons highly visible and which light colours have the best acceptance.

Real conditions on the LED Walkway

TU Berlin had 43 telescopic and standard masts with 78 lamps installed on the grounds of the Technology Museum. Some masts with three lamps are custom-built to analyse the impact of different heights on the lighting quality. The walkway can implement up to 31 different lighting scenarios on a total of seven sections. This shows the wide range of opportunities offered by LED technology under realistic conditions, and the impact of mast height, mast distance, construction, light distribution, light colour, weather conditions and sources of glare on efficiency and light quality.

Targeted light distribution can cause glare

The LED technology facilitates targeted light distribution, making it suitable to light small spaces. This can reduce the energy consumption and also improve the quality of life in cities. Compared with conventional lighting with identical total luminous flux, LEDs require a smaller luminous surface. However, as this can cause glare, it must be considered when planning lighting. The mast height is one way of minimising glare. Masts at least six metres in height eliminate glare effects. Lamps with light spots close to one another within the LED can also be selected. Appropriate optical components like lenses and diffusers prevent glare impacting footpath users.

Research goes on

Based on the existing findings, TU Berlin’s new research project focuses on the development of concepts and measures for energy-efficient space-specific lighting. For this purpose, knowledge of the reflection properties of all surfaces used is extremely important. The aim is to optimise lighting for road surfaces, footpaths and cycle tracks in terms of energy efficiency and road safety, and also optimise lighting on building façades for specific times, to guarantee residents sufficient sleep quality. Based on the results, a catalogue of criteria will be produced to help municipalities plan their lighting.



BINE subscription

Subscribe to newsletter


Project management
TU Berlin, LI


LED Walkway homepage