Blue lights coming to more UK stations in bid to deter suicides

The company behind the blue floodlights that Gatwick Airport is using to try and cut suicides and antisocial behaviour on train platforms, is now hoping more stations will take up the idea.

UK-based Minimise Energy custom-made the blue lights for the platforms at Gatwick, after the worst year for suicides on railway lines in the south of England.

As well as the human tragedy of deaths on the railway, suicides cause huge disruption, delay and cost, which station operators are desperate to avoid.

Staff are trained to try to spot the signs and help people, but unfortunately it’s difficult to predict when or where such incidents will take place.

Terry Denyer, senior asset engineer for Network Rail, says early indications from the Gatwick project are good. ‘Thus far we have had no reported suicide-related incidents at the station since the lights were turned on and we have received anecdotal evidence only from station management that secondary effects such as vandalism, littering and staff abuse may well have fallen.’

The organisation plans to install the lights at four more stations in Sussex, and is  is looking at ways of measuring the effects of the lights. But with so many different factors influencing how people behave, it’s very difficult to pinpoint how much difference the lights themselves have really made.

Minimise Energy is now offering blue versions as a variant of its T-Flood product, saying it ‘can positively affect mood and help tackle issues such as self-harm, violence, vandalism and graffiti’.

Tokyo's Yamanote Line, where blue lights are believed to have helped deter suicides

The idea of using blue lights came from Japan, where they have been fitted in a bid to reduce the number of suicides on Tokyo’s Yamanote Line. Incidents have fallen there since a peak in 2009 when the installation started.

However it’s still not clear why blue lights should have such an effect – some scientists point to a calming effect, but that’s just one of many theories. Even so, station operators in the UK and Japan are convinced enough to invest.

In its description of the product, Minimise Energy says: ‘Research has shown that blue light can induce calm, and as a colour often associated with authority, particularly the police, blue light in public places is different enough from the norm to encourage people to rethink before committing unwanted behaviour.’

As well as train stations, the fittings are suitable for car parks, stairwells and building exteriors.

Andrew Shortis, managing director of Minimise Energy, says: ‘Our T-Flood luminaires are ideal for exterior and architectural lighting and can have a positive effect on lowering antisocial behaviour rates.’
 

Watch our exclusive video on the blue lights at Gatwick below:

 

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Who is funding Network rails unproven humanitarian research ? I am going out on a limb based on a distant memory, 10 years ago I was investigating the possibility of rail platforms inserting lighting strips as guide and warning lights at edge of platform. As part of it I investigated the impact of coloured light on visually impaired people and whilst there wasn't much data, there was a very strong advice from RNIB that the visually impaired did NOT like blue light (ophthalmology experts please contribute positively or negatively) So it is very possible they are creating a new and serious problem (action = reaction) Hormones take time to change mental states and whilst it could be argued train delays would be a contributing factor, I don't believe any one could be affected by blue light on a platform unless they were there for hours. I think the Audio industry could argue more strongly that soothing music would have a more instantaneous effect on mental health issues or stressed commuters than 10 minutes of blue light. We have had blue T26 and T5 tubes for years and years and yet no usage for anti suicide lighting in the past 50 years, even in prisons on suicide watch. Osram and Philips /Zumtobel dabbled with 7k CTI lamps many years ago for mood modifying as a sales concept 12 years ago and abandoned it quickly . Is it just LED idolatry that have dragged some people to a new low of using human depression and the tragedy of desperation in suicide as their callous sales pitch for their LED products. I question science as an absolute truth, this report seems to based on neither scientific data or truth. The only web information google flags up is this Japanese experiment, nothing else and they propose BLUE Street lighting to cure the nation of depression and anti social behaviour now there's a new interesting topic for a lighting forum to chew on.

What does this do to melatonin production for people heading home at night? Another attack of anecdotal rather than research based lighting "solutions"

Happy to see an informed customer about lighting impact on people. Great work. Public places need high intensity blue rich light for increased alertness and positive moods.

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