Effect of Intersection Lighting Design on Drivers' Perceived Visibility and Glare

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A systems-level approach to intersection lighting design has shown that illuminating the intersection box increases drivers’ nighttime visual performance. However, for an intersection lighting design to be effective and accepted, it should not only maximize visual performance but also enhance perceived visibility and minimize glare. The goals of this study were to assess the effects of different intersection lighting designs on these two outcomes. Visibility was assessed with respect to a pedestrian, several targets, and an intersection. Perceptions of visibility and glare were measured using Likert scales, with participants exposed to multiple lighting designs on a realistic intersection. Twenty-four participants completed the study, with an equal number of younger (18–35 years) and older (65+) drivers. The lighting design that illuminated the intersection box had the highest levels of perceived target and intersection visibility and the lowest ratings of glare. For the same lighting configuration, a strong positive correlation was also found between perceived target visibility and previous results on target detection distances. In this configuration, perceived visibility plateaued between 7 and 10 lux of mean intersection illuminance. Increased levels of perceived visibility in different conditions were likely a result of size and contrast differences, and the distribution of the luminaires used. These results suggest that illuminating the intersection box has multiple benefits, in that it not only increases visual performance but also increases perceived visibility and reduces glare.

Engineering, Civil, Transportation, Transportation Science & Technology, Engineering, 0905 Civil Engineering, 1205 Urban and Regional Planning, 1507 Transportation and Freight Services, Logistics & Transportation