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LRC News

Summer 2009
Ecoluminance for Energy-Efficient and Safe Roadway Travel

Ecoluminance aids visibility in roundaboutsThe LRC recently completed a project for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The objective was to identify and evaluate promising approaches to incorporating lighting and vegetation, or ecoluminance system, along roadways. The visibility of objects along several roadway applications (urban boulevards, curved exit ramps, and roundabouts) was investigated using a series of lighting simulations. Economic and energy-use impacts were examined.

Based on the results of the analyses, the project team recommended implementing a demonstration project to integrate ecoluminance approaches to providing visual information at roundabouts. Because of the beneficial impact on traffic flow and safety, NYSDOT has been increasing the number of roundabouts throughout the State. The roundabout application was deemed to provide the greatest benefit in terms of safety, energy and environmental impact, and economic cost.

The project report proposes an 18-month work plan and schedule for conducting the demonstration project, which would include observation of traffic and pedestrian behavior, photometric measurements, assessments of energy use and maintenance requirements, as well as the successful growth and maintenance of appropriate vegetation. The complete report is available here.

About the Lighting Research Center

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit

Contact:lrcnewsletter@rpi.eduPhotos & Graphics:Dennis Guyon
Editor:Mary CimoWeb Production:Dennis Guyon
Contributing Writers:Jennifer Taylor, Mary Cimo, Dennis Guyon
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