Future of Urban Spaces event

Pilot Study Starts! Understanding the impact of night sensitive lighting solutions on both wildlife and humans

Words by: Elise Blight

On a hot sunny day in SA, Professor Therésa Jones and PhD Student Assistant Nicola-Anne Jade Rutowski from the University of Melbourne together with Elise Blight from WE-EF LIGHTING made a visit to the City of Salisbury to commence a pilot study of the biodiversity soundscape of particular pathways, with a particular focus on understanding the impacts of night sensitive lighting solutions on both wildlife and humans.

The first deployment was at a section along Dry Creek trail at Valley View wherein which there are currently no luminaires, but plans to install VFL500 post top luminaires along the pathway in the future, to increase amenity in the early morning and evening for pedestrians and cyclists.

We were joined at this site by Peter Buckley of Buckford Illumination Group, Michael Pavlovich, Energy and Lighting Specialist and Craig Johansen Team Leader Streetscape and Open Space Assets – two integral members of the progressive City Of Salisbury’s Infrastructure Management team, and by Josh Hill and Simon Trill of City of Port Adelaide.

Here, audio moths were deployed along various points of the pilot location with a unified goal of capturing a before and after study – with all parties very keen to have data captured and analysed to ensure that future decision making about lighting is informed and environmentally considered for this site.

The second site for deployment was along Little Para Trail, with audio moths being installed along this trail at which WE-EF VFL520s in PC Amber’s are already installed. The community has been enjoying the gentle illumination of this pathway that was previously unlit and in deploying the audio moths along various points of the trail – in some areas of darkness and some under the lights, we attempt to understand how the biodiversity is responding too. More about the beautiful Little Para Trail project can be found here.

The City of Salisbury are also monitoring human traffic along this trail concurrently, to provide us with a holistic view of pedestrians, cyclists and the directional movement of the traffic on the trail which we look forward to being able study closely together with the biodiversity soundscape data.

Over the coming months, with the support of regular device monitoring from the City of Salisbury, Professor Therésa Jones and PhD Student Assistant Nicola-Anne Jade Rutowski will analyse the data captured to identify trends and we are excited to learn more as we embark on this unique and much needed research. In the future, we hope to be able to define a program for other councils to also conduct site assessments of biodiversity in a before and after manner to ensure that lights are being thoughtfully placed where they are needed with respect to nature – stay tuned as the pilot study progresses!

November 16, 2023