We light the night because we are afraid of the dark. There isn’t anything much more primal or hardwired into the human brain. Thomas Edison knew this and used “safety” as a tool to sell his new invention. Since the beginning, outdoor lighting has been installed to make the public “feel safe” in order to enhance commerce.
Contractors often consider lighting a feature that you spend as little money as possible on just to meet whatever technical standards (IES, CIE or AASHTO) have been adopted. This is “lighting on the cheap” and the results can be horrific. As a society, if we choose to devote vast amounts of energy and money to light, we should be willing to employ good lighting design and professionals that understand vision, visibility and sustainability.
Until technical lighting standards use scientific research as a basis, optimum visibility will not be achieved using them. Standards must prioritize real world visibility and the reduction of glare at the primary goals for lighting.