USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

FHWA Lighting Handbook August 2012


1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

FHWA Lighting Handbook

5. Report Date

August 2012

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

Paul Lutkevich, Don McLean, Joseph Cheung

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Parsons Brinckerhoff,
75 Arlington St.
Boston, MA

10. Work Unit No.:

11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH 61-10-P-00162

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes


16. Abstract

This handbook is an update to the 1978 FHWA Lighting Handbook 78-15 as well as the 1983 addendum. It is meant to provide guidance to designers and State, city, and town officials concerning the application of roadway lighting. Supplementing and referring to other resources developed by AASHTO, IES, and CIE this document contains information on:

Policy and Guidance – discussing references, policy, and recommendations used by FHWA in evaluating and administering funds for roadway and street lighting projects.

Basic Terms and Concepts – discussing descriptions of significant terms and concepts used in roadway and street lighting projects.

Warranting Criteria – including various warranting methods available when considering lighting.

Lighting Impacts – discussing various impacts (both positive and negative) of lighting systems and ways to control and mitigate.

Application Considerations – supplementing information provided in the reference documents.

Other Systems and Issues – discussing additional lighting and non-lighting elements impacting the roadway user.

17. Key Words

Roadway lighting, street lighting, visibility, warrants, safety, adaptive lighting, lighting policy

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through National Technical Information Center, Springfield, Virginia 22161.

19. Security Classification (of this report)


20. Security Classification (of this page)


21. No of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (06/98).