Public transit systems have numerous civic benefits that are environmental and social. However, the public transit systems that we rely on would be worthless if they weren’t first and foremost safe.
Every public transit system in the United States is subject to federal, state, and local safety standards. Under those standards, public buses and trains are required to have an illuminated egress system in case of emergency. Yet, in most cases, the method by which these egress systems are illuminated is not specified. Common options include electric light strips and signs or tritium based signage, but there is a third option that is both more cost-effective and potentially safer for your citizens: photoluminescence.
A Glow-in-the-Dark Path to Safety
Photoluminescent safety signs and tapes are generally made with an inorganic pigment which absorbs energy from normal, ambient light. When that light source is suddenly removed, photoluminescent signs glow vibrantly in the dark, making them an ideal choice for egress systems on both trains and buses. Whereas electric safety signs are likely to fail in the event of total power loss, photoluminescent signs require no electricity and are therefore significantly less likely to fail in the event of an emergency.
Due to the fact that photoluminescent signs and tape do not require electricity, they also do not require any wiring or maintenance. Photoluminescent tape can be installed in a matter of minutes without any heavy labor required. Likewise, photoluminescent safety signs may simply be adhered to an appropriate surface.
Tritium vs. Photoluminescent Safety Signs
Tritium based safety signs have been used in locations with no electricity, but they carry their own added dangers. Tritium gets its glow from radioactivity and continual exposure to radioactive materials can be hazardous to a person’s health. In fact, exit signs made from tritium cannot simply be thrown away when inoperable. Instead, there are specific US NRC regulations that must be followed when disposing of these radioactive signs.
Greater Cost Savings with Photoluminescence
Beyond the health and safety benefits of glow-in-the-dark signs, photoluminescent safety materials are also more cost effective than electric egress systems. Photoluminescent signs, once installed, can be easily maintained for over 25 years without any need for electricity. By comparison, 100 incandescent exit signs cost about $3,500 a year in energy costs, not to mention the half million pounds of CO2 emissions those hundred light bulbs give off over the course of their lifetime.
Different municipalities must decide for themselves what type of egress markings will be most effective for their public transit systems. Ultimately, what matters most is choosing an egress method that surpasses local and federal standards while keeping your citizens as safe as possible.
To learn more about the benefits of using photoluminescent egress systems on public transportation, contact Jessup Manufacturing Company, maker of GloBrite® Photoluminescent Systems, to speak with a sales team member that can address your questions and provide you with additional information.