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LRC News

Summer 2009
Effective Crosswalk Illumination Explored by LRC Research

Bollard-based crosswalk lightingReduced nighttime visibility is a probable contributor to pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Through the Region II University Transportation Research Center, the LRC completed a project for the New Jersey Department of Transportation to systematically evaluate different approaches to lighting at pedestrian crosswalks for improving pedestrian visibility and detection.

The project team conducted a series of photometrically accurate lighting simulations in order to assess the visual conditions resulting from different lighting configurations, and assessed the economics (initial cost, and electricity and maintenance costs) of each system evaluated.

The results suggested that a bollard-based fluorescent lighting system mounted at the ends of a crosswalk and oriented to provide vertical illumination on pedestrians in the crosswalk could be a feasible, cost-effective approach. This promising lighting configuration was demonstrated at an intersection in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Results of the one-night experiment confirmed that this method was practical. Improvements to the approach, such as use of louvers for glare control and coordinating light output levels with the timing of pedestrian signals to provide an alerting signal, were also provided in the report. The full project report is available at the NJDOT Web site.

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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