U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Below are several resources and research documents that you may find useful in learning more about roadway lighting.
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]
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]
IESNA American National Standard Practice for Roadway Lighting (RP-8-14)
This Standard Practice serves as the basis for design of fixed lighting for roadways, streets, adjacent bikeways, and pedestrian ways. It deals entirely with lighting design and does not give advice on construction. Its primary purpose is to provide recommended practices for designing new continuous lighting systems for roadways and streets. This document is available for purchase from ANSI here.
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]