By Kathryn Reilly
School of Architecture adjunct professor Stephen Quick was recently featured in a Mobility Lab article for his research on the light pollution impacts of LED streetlights in urban areas. Quick, along with Diane Turnshek of the CMU physics department, led a team of researchers to create a high-resolution light pollution map of Pittsburgh and raise awareness for serious consequences of light pollution within the city.
Their research is a response to an issue that affects cities across the world – controlling the optimal light temperature and intensity for pedestrian and vehicular safety. As a trial, the researchers used drones to monitor 3,000 LED lights throughout the city of Pittsburgh. The project is supported by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), the City of Pittsburgh, and the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.
The researchers looked at the potential of creating an integrated, “smart” system for controlling the lights, and ultimately recommended that Pittsburgh invest in LEDs with lower, warmer temperatures and limited controls. “We know that everybody sees better with lower light levels,” says Quick. “Your eyes don’t take as long to adjust.” Ultimately, the Carnegie Mellon LED light pollution research will improve resident safety for Pittsburgh and other cities.
Kathryn Reilly is a third-year Professional Writing student in the Carnegie Mellon University Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.