PhD students

Shahab Gorjimahlabani

Investigating the measurement of pedestrian reassurance

Following the completion of my bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering, I continued my education at master’s level in Construction and Project Management at Shahid Beheshti University, Iran, where I worked on developing Sustainability Assessment Tools in The Built Environment using Maturity Models as my thesis project. After working in the built environment industry as a researcher for two years and also teaching as a lecturer for four years, I joined the University of Sheffield to further develop my knowledge in Sustainability in the Built environment, as part of the MSc Sustainable Architecture Studies programme.

As a PhD student in the Lighting Research Group, my research involves investigating how road lighting contributes to pedestrian’s feeling of safety (reassurance) when walking alone after dark. The aim of this research is to investigate different approaches in determining optimal values for various lighting characteristics (eg illuminance, spectral power distribution and spatial distribution) with regards to pedestrian reassurance, whilst accounting for other lighting needs of all road users (ie pedestrians, cyclists and drivers). By defining these values this research will help enhance perceived safety and lower fear of crime, leading to encouragement of walking.

Aysheh Alshdaifat

Does road lighting enhance pedestrian alertness?

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Al Albayt University, Jordan. My ‎graduation project was An ‎‎education city for developing creative ‎thinking skills. I tried to link light and perception during the ‎concept level, I ‎studied how the ‎speed of things relative to the speed of light ‎affects our perception ‎of them and the things ‎which ‎we can call reality. In 2017, I received my master’s degree from The University of Jordan. My thesis was ‎ about how lighting ‎conditions affect emotions and perception: my most important finding was that ‎light influences the recipient's ‎feelings and emotions.

For the past seven years I was a ‎lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering, AL Albayt University, Jordan. ‎I taught illumination and acoustics in the architecture design studio. ‎As a volunteer I worked at the ‎We Are ‎Jordan Youth Commission. In my role as head of the Committee on Educational ‎Development I led the ‎development of plans designed to increasing the environmental quality of ‎‎neighbourhoods in Jordan.‎

As an early stage researcher in the LightCAP project, my PhD research is about ‎Lighting at un-‎signalled (zebra) pedestrian ‎crossings. I will investigate optimal lighting characteristics, ‎including ‎illuminance, spectrum, and uniformity. The research will include making pedestrians more alert to ‎potential hazards and ‎could enhance visibility and the visual perception to detect dangerous ‎objects.

Maan Balela

Investigating the use of odds ratios as a tool for research of cycling and lighting

I joined the SSoA Lighting research group as a PhD student in 2020. The focus of my research is the relationship between lighting and the built environment and how that relationship could influence the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. My aim with this research is to be able to recommend a set of design guidelines that may promote more walking and cycling by increasing the feeling of reassurance.

Prior to starting my PhD I worked as an Architect in the healthcare field and in 2017 I joined the Faculty of Architecture and Planning in King Abdulaziz University (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), as a lecturer. My qualifications include a BArch from King Abdulaziz University (2011) and a MEng in Facade Design and Construction from the Technische Hochschule Ostwesfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences in Detmold, Germany (2014).

Nima Hafezparast Moadab

Driving, lighting and cognitive load

I was awarded my bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from University of Isfahan, Iran. I then studied for a master’s degree in sustainable building information management at Jonkoping University, Sweden. My master thesis, and subsequent post-doc post at Jonkoping, concentrated on optimised light environments through smart systems in residential buildings, covering both the needs of occupant well-being and the electric lighting energy.

My PhD topic is lighting for driving and hazard detection. The project will investigate the influence of lighting characteristics such as light level and light spectrum on the visibility and conspicuity of hazards, and the driver’s alertness to potential hazards.‎

As one of the 15 researchers in the LightCAP team, I am devoting my PhD research to become an expert able to deliver on the promise of truly intelligent, human centric lighting. My aim as a PhD student at the University of Sheffield concerns how lighting conditions affect a driver's ability to detect and identify hazards. Exposure to light affects hormone concentration, brain activity patterns, core body temperature, pupil size, feelings of sleepiness, alertness, and even task performance. This study aims to consider the manipulation of non-image-forming-system and carefully evaluate its potentials for the driver's alertness and performance. Since such manipulation has a direct impact on human circadian rhythm and its phase shifting, all aspects need to be carefully investigated to predict unwanted side-effects.

Scott Fox

Hazard detection when driving

He is now an ESRC funded 1+3 PhD student. This specific type of PhD consists of a MA year in Social Research followed by a three year PhD situated between the Schools of Architecture and Psychology.

In 2015 Scott gained a first class BSc degree in Psychology. The research at this level involved investigating how lighting conditions and spatial frequency influence facial identification to explain why people see ghosts. Such psychophysical phenomena greatly interests Scott, although he is interested in research that has clear practical outcomes. This is what drives his passion for academia, and what drove him into research with a more practical focus.

Indeed, drive is the appropriate word to use regarding not only Scott’s subsequent research experience following his undergraduate degree, but also his PhD project. He was employed as a Research Assistant at the University of Sheffield in 2016. The research involved investigating the influence of road lighting on driving performance, both in terms of adaptation to light and dark and how fog interacts with light to impact driving performance. His PhD project takes inspiration from the research conducted in the outlined Research Assistant post, in which different types of distraction on the road and how they impact driving performance will be investigated. This primarily includes elements of lighting and sound.

The abstracts of theses from previous PhD students are posted here