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  • Understanding Tunnel Lighting Zones And Configurations
    Apr 04, 2018

    Tunnel lighting systems are configured and installed, based on five zones: Access Zone, Threshold Zone, Transition Zone, Interior Zone and Exit Zone.

    Read on to learn about the industrial lighting requirements of tunnels and how to calculate tunnel lighting for each

    Access Zone

    This area is located outside of the tunnel, specifically the strip of road that leads to the tunnel’s initial entry point. The primary role of lamps in the access zone is enhanced clarity. The lights should allow individuals entering the tunnel to adjust to the conditions of the area. Access zone lighting configurations are considered successful when a driver can enter the tunnel without decreasing speed.

    Threshold and Transition Zones

    Threshold and transition zones gradually adjust lighting conditions to cater to the dimly lit nature of tunnels. By slowly reducing illumination, drivers are less prone to developing ‘blind spots’ created by rapidly switching exposure between daylight conditions and dark tunnels.

    Ideally, the end of the transition zone should provide up to three times more illumination, compared to the interior zone.

    Interior and Exit Zones

    As the term suggests, the interior zone is the deepest part of the tunnel. In most cases, the amount of illumination required is dictated by the type of activity inside the location. For road-related activities and traffic, traveling speeds and density must be taken into consideration.

    Lastly, the exit zone provides the required illumination for safe travels leading out of the area. Interestingly, the visual principles applied in the access, threshold and transition zones are not needed in the exit zone. This is because humans can easily adjust between dim and bright lighting levels easier, compared to adapting from bright to low lighting conditions.

    To guide drivers out of the tunnel, lights in this zone are installed to provide contrasting conditions, in the event the exit point (and surrounding signs) is obstructed or hard to identify.