Lighting Research Center Lighting Research Center

Automotive and Street Lighting

Good lighting is essential to all aspects of transportation, enabling effective visibility between drivers, pedestrians, and their environment. The importance of safety and energy efficiency is forefront in the studies performed at the LRC.

The LRC studies new, energy-efficient methods of lighting our roadways, sidewalks, and parking lots, as well as crosswalk indicators, snowplows, and LED traffic signals. The Transportation Lighting Program at the LRC explores the interaction between vehicle, roadway, and signal lighting and offers new guidelines for cost-effective use and safety.


Visibility from Vehicle Headlamps and Roadway Lighting in Urban, Suburban, and Rural Locations - This paper presents an analysis of visibility along a representative roadway intersection scenario with median and market-weighted headlamp beam patterns, and high beam headlamp patterns.

Field Test DELTA Snapshot: LED Street Lighting - To investigate several of these claims, DELTA evaluated an installation of LED street lighting in order to determine life, uniformity, maintenance, vision at low light levels, and energy savings.

Documentation of Semi-Permanent High-Mast Lighting for Construction - The LRC evaluated a novel temporary lighting system installed at a highway construction site along a major interstate.

Getting There with Lighting: Overview Presentation pdf icon - This presentation outlines the mission and research efforts of the LRC's Transportation Lighting Group.

Optimizing the Design and Use of Light-Emitting Diodes for Visually Critical Applications in Transportation and Architecture - This Web page introduces the involvement of the LRC with LEDs and transportation issues.

Shedding Light on Glare pdf icon - Trade magazine article on the advantages and drawbacks of high-intensity blue headlamps.

Related Programs


Efficacy of "Wipers On, Headlamps On" Legislation - An LRC study compared crash data in several U.S. states before and after "wipers on, headlamps on" laws were enacted.

LED Beacon Lights on Maintenance Trucks are Safe, Economical Alternative to Traditional Rotating Beacons - A recent study by the LRC has shown that LED beacon lights use less power without compromising safety.

Novel Crosswalk Lighting Improves Pedestrian Safety - Scientists at the LRC are helping to evaluate different crosswalk lighting systems in order to improve pedestrian safety. The LRC sought to find a lighting solution that illuminates the pedestrian but not the background in order to increase contrast and improve pedestrian visibility and detection.

Researchers Develop Method to Reduce Headlamp Glare and Maintain Maximum Roadway Visibility - Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center, through funding from NHTSA, have developed and demonstrated a method to reduce headlamp glare and maintain maximum visibility.

Mesopic Street Lighting Demonstration and Evaluation Final Report pdf icon - LRC demonstrates replacing a high-pressure sodium (HPS) street lighting system using a white light source.

Driver Response to Peripheral Moving Targets Under Mesopic Light Levels pdf icon - A study of drivers’ reaction times to moving targets under different nighttime lighting conditions.

Implementing the Unified System of Photometry in Driving Contexts pdf icon - A study of drivers’ detection and response to simultaneous targets under different lighting conditions.

Examining Headlamp Glare for NHTSA pdf icon - Four studies of automotive headlamp glare designed to help NHTSA develop appropriate regulations and ensure safer nighttime road travel.

Street Lighting Practices in U.S. pdf icon - A survey of street lighting equipment and practices in the United States.

Assessing Headlamps and Glare pdf icon - A field study that systematically examined headlamp intensity, color and size and effects on visibility and visual discomfort.

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