Luces and candelas: how to maintain the brightness of Moscow at night

July 30
Municipal services

Almost a million lamps are lit every evening in the capital, and Moscow is rightfully among the five most illuminated cities in the world. This huge municipal infrastructure is monitored by specialists of the State Unitary Enterprise Mossvet. The company conducts technical supervision of all outdoor lighting in Moscow - from road lamps to architectural lighting - and also monitors the state of illumination. To do this, every evening, a mobile lighting laboratory checks the illumination of highways, parks and apartments. How engineers work and how bright Moscow should be, we tell you on the birthday of Mossvet.

Road alphabet

The mobile laboratory goes on evening duty according to the schedule of switching on outdoor lighting. This time is scheduled to the minute and changes every day: for example, on July 27, the light in Moscow is turned on at 09:03 pm, and on August 27, already at 07:47 pm - the full schedule can be found on the Mossvet website

One of the main tasks of specialists is to check how well the roads are lit, because the safety of both motorists and pedestrians depends on it. Depending on the traffic intensity, each road gets its own classification: A, B, and C. The busiest and largest highways are assigned to group A, the least loaded -to group C.

Category A includes the MKAD and the Third Transport Ring, outbound routes, for example, Leningradskoye and Rublevskoye highways, as well as the Garden Ring and some central streets. Category B roads include main streets of regional significance, for example, Shosseynaya and Lyublinskaya. Such streets and roads of district significance as 1st Vladimirskaya and 8th of March street fall into category С.

All roads of categories A and B are inspected annually. To check highways, Mossvet specialists use a lucimeter - a digital camera that measures the brightness level of the road surface.

It is installed behind the windshield almost like an MDVR and is connected to a computer with special software.


The name of the unit of measurement came from the Latin word ‘candela’ (candle), because one candela is approximately equal to the light intensity of one candle.

Moscow lux

Another device used by Mossvet engineers is a lux meter, a small box connected by a wire to a light-sensitive element. With its help, measurements are made on playgrounds, in courtyards, in parks, squares, apartments, in a word, everywhere you can not go by car.

For each object, its own illumination rate is prescribed. This indicator should be equal to 10 lux for any children's and sports ground, and 4 lux for the courtyard territory itself. For comparison, a full moon in the tropics is equal to one lux of illumination, and a very cloudy day is 100.

“According to statistics, people most often complain about the darkness, but recently, on the contrary, many applications have been received about excessive brightness,” said Oleg Polovinkin. “For example, because of the new diode lights, because they have a white spectrum light. As a rule, there are still no violations of the norm for such lamps, it's just that Muscovites are not used to them.”

The dwellers often ask to check the illumination of courtyards. In the vast majority of cases, specialists do not detect any violations.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

Both to the City Council, and to Facebook 

Mossvet specialists check the main roads regardless of the circumstances, while they go to the other objects mainly by request. The appeal is selected for work according to the district principle. For example, if there are 10 appeals in the Northern Administrative District, then the mobile lighting laboratory goes to the north.

In total, Mossvet employees conducted 2,760 inspections in 2020: 768 measurements with a lux meter and 1,992 - with a camera. Despite the fact that there is a huge territory under the control of specialists - engineers go to both Troitsky and Novomoskovsky Administrative Districts and Zelenograd - on average they manage to fulfill four or five requests per shift. The appeal can also be left on the page in the social network - none of them remains without attention.

Photo by Maxim Denisov,

“There are many options for how you can make an application for checking illumination level: the Our City portal, the district administration, the prefecture. They even write to us directly by mail or on Facebook. There are 30 days to handle the complaint, to come, measure the violation and submit a report to OEK JSC, if something concerns outdoor lighting, or to the Joint Administrative and Technical Inspectorates - they control, among other things, violations related to the quality of outdoor lighting,” said the Senior Engineer.


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