‘Surreal’ lighting to make ‘world’s longest tunnel’ safe

‘Surreal’ lighting to make ‘world’s longest tunnel’ safe

‘Surreal’ ambient lighting could be used to prevent drivers suffering psychological problems while driving through what is set to become ‘the world’s longest tunnel’.

UK ministers commissioned a study to find ways to prevent ‘claustrophobia, disorientation and tiredness’ in response to plans to build an 18-mile tunnel underneath the hilly Pennines in the UK, between the northern cities of Manchester and Sheffield.

The study names two equally lengthy tunnels, the Lærdal Tunnel in Norway and Zhongnanshan Tunnel in China as two inspirational case studies.

The Norwegian tunnel, which is also one of the longest in the world, uses creative blue and yellow lighting to recreate the aura of sunrise. This keeps drivers calm and collected as they make their way through the innards of the mountain range.

The tunnel lighting has even been described as ‘romantic’ by some and it has become the scene of many subterranean weddings and parties.

The Zhongnanshan tunnel in Shaanxi Provence is the longest tunnel in China and drops to below 1,500 metres at its deepest points. The tunnel features fake clouds projected onto the roof and roadside palm trees to keep drivers compos mentis during the long drive.

It was concluded in the research that the ‘proper use of cavern spaces is one of the most effective ways to relieve travelers fears’ and that creative lighting is one of the best ways to prevent claustrophobia, disorientation and tiredness,’ when driving through long tunnels.

Ministers are now expected to commission research into driver behaviour in long tunnels to ensure everything possible is done to mitigate any difficulties, in what will become the biggest infrastructure project in the UK since the construction of the motorways over fifty years ago.

You can find out more about tunnel lighting at theis year’s Lux Live. The exhibition will take place at ExCeL London on Wednesday 23 November and Thursday 24 November

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