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Troy, N.Y. -  7/25/2017

LRC Analysis of Energy Efficient Highway Lighting Selected as AASHTO Sweet Sixteen High Value Research Project

roadway lightingThe American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Research Advisory Committee (RAC) has selected the Lighting Research Center (LRC) Transportation Lighting project “Analysis of Energy Efficient Highway Lighting Retrofits” as a “Sweet Sixteen” High Value Research Project.  This prestigious honor is awarded each year to a select group of high-profile and influential projects. The LRC research team included Mark Rea, John Bullough, Nicholas Skinner, and Jennifer Brons.

The project, funded by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and conducted through the Region 2 University Transportation Research Center (UTRC), compared light-emitting diode (LED) retrofit alternatives to existing high pressure sodium (HPS) lighting systems along a parkway (Southern State Parkway, Long Island) and an arterial roadway (Central Avenue, Albany County). The research team used photometric analyses to identify LED lighting systems that met light level criteria for each roadway type, and found several options that resulted in energy savings compared to the existing HPS systems. Energy and economic analyses confirmed that the initial investment could be paid back in terms of reduced operating costs, and that energy savings were larger for LED systems when compared to HPS systems that produced similar levels to those from the LED alternatives. Further energy cost savings could be expected with the use of adaptive lighting controls specified to take advantage of temporal nighttime traffic patterns.  

The winning research projects will be presented by their sponsoring agencies at the 2017 AASHTO RAC/Transportation Research Board Representative Annual Meeting later this month​. A list of the “Sweet Sixteen” High Value Research Projects is available at:

The full project report can be downloaded from the NYSDOT website at:

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world's leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC conducts research in solid-state lighting, light and health, transportation lighting and safety, energy efficiency, and plant pathology. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. With 35 full-time faculty and staff, 15 graduate students, and a 30,000 sq. ft. laboratory space, the LRC is the largest university-based lighting research and education organization in the world.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America's first technological research university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science "to the common purposes of life."