Assessment of the Performance of Light-Emitting Diode Roadway Lighting Technology

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Virginia Transportation Research Council


This study, championed by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Traffic Engineering Division, involved a thorough investigation of light-emitting diode (LED) roadway lighting technology by testing six types of roadway luminaires (including housing and all components enclosed) in a laboratory environment and on the field over a 2-year period. The results showed that LED luminaires exhibited superior lighting and related qualities compared to high-pressure sodium luminaires. Different photometric characteristics were found among LED luminaires of different designs, indicating a careful selection considering light distribution and illuminance level is necessary for individual lighting applications. During the first 2 years of operation, the average light loss for the LED luminaires was 6% based on laboratory testing. The study also found that implementing LED technology systematically will result in a return on investment between 3.25 and 5.76 for different scenarios over a 25-year period due to savings in maintenance and energy consumption. The study resulted in the VDOT LED Roadway Luminaire Specification document and developed recommendations relevant to VDOT’s implementation of LED technology.



Light-emitting diode, LED roadway lighting


Gibbons, R. B., Li, Y., & Meyer, J. E. (2015). Assessment of the performance of light-emitting diode roadway lighting technology (No. VTRC 16-R6). Virginia Transportation Research Council.