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Nighttime Visibility


Roadway Lighting – Resources

Below are several resources and research documents that you may find useful in learning more about roadway lighting.


  • Lighting - A Florida Case Study on a Proven Safety Countermeasure - YouTube [HTML]

Proven Safety Countermeasure

  • Roadway Lighting [HTML]


  • Web-based training for FHWA Roadway Lighting Workshop [HTML]
    This new online training is designed to educate practitioners on the latest advances in nighttime lighting concepts and technologies while refreshing their memory on basics such as the objectives and benefits of roadway lighting. Other topics include basic terminology, practices for determining whether and how lighting should be installed and controlled, measurement issues, and more.


  • Study on Illumination for State Highways [PDF 2.9 MB]
    This 2016 report reviewed existing public agency illumination standards domestically and internationally and outlined the difference in designing standards. An overview of existing luminaire technology performance, as well as operational and maintenance characteristics are provided. In addition, available illumination control and spectrum technologies for performance characteristics are summarized. The results of this literature review are useful for design and business case decisions regarding illumination installation, maintenance, and operation. [Publication No. WA-RD 847.1]

  • Evaluation of The Impact of Spectral Power Distribution on Driver Performance [HTML, PDF 9.4 MB]
    This 2015 report provides the details and results of a comprehensive investigation of the impact of light-source spectrum on driver visual performance. Human factors experiments evaluated driver detection and recognition of large and small objects, including pedestrians, with and without overhead lighting. [Publication No. FHWA- HRT-15-047]
  • FHWA Roadway Lighting Handbook [HTML, PDF 5.84 MB]
    This 2012 handbook is an update to the 1978 FHWA Lighting Handbook 78-15 as well as the 1983 addendum. It is meant to provide guidance to designers and State, city, and town officials concerning the application of roadway lighting. [Publication No. FHWA-SA-11-22]
  • Design Criteria for Adaptive Roadway Lighting [HTML, PDF 1.12 MB]
    This 2014 report describes an in-depth effort to assess the impact of roadway lighting on the overall safety performance of roadways. The results of this report were used to develop a proposed set of adaptive lighting criteria to assist jurisdictions in making sound safety-based decisions when considering adaptive lighting approaches. This robust analysis of real-world lighting data serves as the foundation for future roadway lighting analyses. [Publication No. FHWA- HRT-14-051]

  • Guidelines for The Implementation of Reduced Lighting on Roadways [HTML, PDF 1.12 MB]
    The guidelines presented in this 2014 report address the need to maintain the safety effects of roadway lighting while alleviating the budgetary strains associated with the maintenance of the lighting infrastructure. This report establishes a new set of criteria for practitioners to apply to their roadway environment that will identify appropriate lighting levels for given roadway characteristics and usage. [Publication No. FHWA-HRT-14-050]
  • Research Report: Lighting for Pedestrian Safety [PDF 9.9 MB]
    This document details three separate experiments that coalesce to form pedestrian lighting recommendations for sidewalk and crosswalk lighting that consider the visibility needs of both children and adults as well as pedestrian volume and road class. In the first study, participant drivers were evaluated on their ability to detect the presence of child-sized pedestrians under variations of luminaire type, mounting heights, as well as variations in luminance and illuminance of the visual target. A second experiment evaluated the ability for walking pedestrians to detect hazards in their path under the same lighting conditions used in the first experiment. The final experiment evaluated the abilities of adults and children to determine when it would be no longer safe to cross a mid-block crosswalk as vehicles approach under varying lighting conditions.

Design Guidelines

  • ANSI/IES Recommended Practice for Design and Maintenance of Roadway and Parking Facility (RP-8-18)
    ANSI/IES RP-8-18 is a substantial revision to previous versions of ANSI/IES RP-8 in that it is an aggregation of several IES Standards covering roadway and parking facility lighting. This Standard Practice serves as the basis for design of fixed lighting for roadways, streets, adjacent bikeways, and pedestrian ways. This document is available for purchase from IES

  • AASHTO Roadway Lighting Design Guide 7th Edition
    The 7th Edition of the AASHTO Roadway Lighting Design Guide have been published and is now available for purchase from AASHTO store

    The 7th Edition has been revised to reflect current practices in roadway lighting design and provide a general overview of lighting systems from the point of view of State transportation departments recommends minimum design parameters.

NCHRP Report

  • NCHRP Research Report 940: Solid-State Roadway Lighting Design, Volume 1: Guidance and Volume 2: Research Overview
    The objectives of NCHRP Project 05-22, "Guidelines for Solid-State Roadway Lighting," were (1) to develop more comprehensive guidelines in AASHTO standard format for the application of roadway lighting related to the widespread adoption of SSL and (2) to identify gaps in knowledge where possible future research will enhance these guidelines. This research complements and supplements the ongoing efforts of the AASHTO Roadway Lighting Committee on the use of SSL systems.

    The research produce a solid-state roadway lighting guidance on implementing SSL technology, specifically as it relates to the current AASHTO Roadway Lighting Design Guide (2018) and a complimentary research overview report. For further details on Report 940, please visit the TRB website with the links below for free download.

  • NCHRP Project 20-07, Task 425 Report on Emerging LED Technologies and use within tunnels
    This research documented the differences in lighting sources and the issues related to use of LED lighting sources in roadway tunnels. Issues include potential changes in tunnel maintenance cycles and procedures, differences in color/brightness, distribution of light from LED luminaires and the higher initial capital cost. The report also developed and proposed revisions to the AASHTO Roadway Lighting Design Guide, Seventh Edition dated October 2018, with respect to tunnel lighting
  • NCHRP Report 968: LED Roadway Lighting: Impact on Driver Sleep Health and Alertness

    Light emitting diode (LED) technology has revolutionized the lighting industry. The dimming and instant-on capabilities of these light sources along with their high efficiency have allowed lighting designers to overcome some of the limitations of previous technologies, particularly in roadway lighting environments. However, concerns related to the health and environmental impacts of LEDs have been raised.

    The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 968: LED Roadway Lighting: Impact on Driver Sleep Health and Alertness seeks to determine the impact of LED roadway lighting on driver sleep health and alertness. This report provides information for state and local transportation agencies on the potential impact of LED roadway lighting on driver health. Thus, the report will be of immediate interest to staff in these agencies with responsibility for the design and operation of roadway lighting.

Page last modified on December 15, 2021
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