The National Academies

NCHRP 05-19 [Completed]

Guidelines for Roadway Lighting Based on Safety Benefits and Costs

  Project Data
Funds: $800,000
Research Agency: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Principal Investigator: Dr. Mark S. Rea
Effective Date: 7/14/2005
Completion Date: 6/1/2009
Comments: The research has been terminated. Papers on various aspects of the research are available at the links provided below.


NCHRP Report 152: Warrants for Highway Lighting, issued in 1974, provided a "total design process" for roadway lighting based on the basic information needs related to driver performance. The needs were classified based on geometric, operational, and environmental conditions and accident history. Unfortunately, few states have used NCHRP Report 152 for evaluating lighting requirements because the warrants are difficult to implement and the agencies do not have the required accident-history data. Furthermore, these and other current lighting warrants address existing facilities only and do not provide sufficient guidance for determining the requirement for lighting on new roadway facilities.

States need to justify roadway lighting in the face of competing issues such as budget shortfalls, public safety concerns, environmental impacts, and energy consumption. An evaluation of the safety benefits of roadway lighting across a range of conditions and roadway classifications is required in order to facilitate a readily understandable and defensible benefit/cost analysis for key decisionmakers. There is an urgent need to develop guidelines to determine the need for roadway lighting on current, rehabilitated, or planned facilities across a range of roadway types and lighting situations.


The objective of this project is to develop guidelines for determination of appropriate roadway lighting for existing and planned facilities based on safety benefits and total costs.

Reports available:

Literature Review:  Review of the Safety Benefits and Other Effects of Roadway Lighting

Analysis of Safety Effects for the Presence of Roadway Lighting 

Analysis of Visual Performance Benefits from Roadway Lighting

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