Street lights are orange, not white, for practical reasons. The type of lamp used in a street light is called a Low Pressure Sodium lamp, or LPS. It is the most efficient light source that can be used. They produce a monochromatic orange-yellow light, from lamps which are long and skinny. So, it’s not that orange is ‘chosen’ over white because of its color, but that the best form of light in terms of efficiency and cost.
It is likely that the choice of orange (or more likely, red) was influenced by the choice of green. When installing a street light, one of the most important considerations is that the light signals not be confused with each other. Since green and red (orange) are opposite colors on the color wheel (in color theory) they made good candidates for use in opposite signals (stop vs go). Replacing red with white would still work, but it would undoubtedly invite confusion with the green signal.
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