The National Academies

NCHRP 20-07/Task 305 [Final]

Analysis of New Highway Lighting Technologies
[ NCHRP 20-07 (Research for AASHTO Standing Committee on Highways) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Research Agency: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Principal Investigator: John D. Bullough
Effective Date: 5/2/2012
Completion Date: 8/1/2013


The objective of this research is to evaluate the potential and proper application of LED lighting technology and if applicable, other new roadway lighting technologies, to determine if and what additional research is required to properly establish guidance for these technologies. In the event the research establishes that sufficient acceptable research has already been performed to provide guidance on the use of LED lighting or other alternate lighting technology, the research shall provide design guidance.


The final report has been received and delivered to AASHTO for their further use. It is also available below.
  • Review new lighting technologies being promoted for highway lighting, focusing on LED technology and other lighting technologies that are emerging for use on highway transportation facilities.
  • Conduct a thorough search/review of existing research and data.
  • Compare LED (and other relevant lighting technology) and traditional lighting performance in terms of such things as efficacy, intensity, uniformity, glare, color spectrum and perception, average useful life, and performance.
  • Determine if varying lighting criteria should be established based on the quality and illuminating performance of the light provided using measurable criteria such as Color Rendering Index or Color Temperature, and, if appropriate, develop the new criteria for differing light sources.
  • Determine if and what additional research is required to provide guidance for the use of these lighting technologies.
  • If the research team determines that sufficient research has been conducted, the team will develop recommendations, standards, and/or specifications for appropriate uses for these new technologies, potentially including locations, facilities, light levels, intensity, uniformity, glare, and possibly color guidelines.

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