Work zone lighting and visual performance

John D. Bullough, Ute C. Besenecker, Jeremy D. Snyder, Nicholas P. Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In part because of the potential for high levels of glare from work zone illumination, recommendations for light levels from work zone illumination systems are substantially higher than for levels used along roadways in non-work zone locations. In a two-part study, requirements for work zone illumination light levels were assessed. First, levels for workers varying in age from 20 to 60 years were evaluated with the relative visual performance model, with and without the presence of visibility-reducing glare. Except for the smallest, lowest-contrast tasks performed by the older workers, an illuminance of 10 lx resulted in visibility well above the threshold even in the presence of glare, and an illuminance of 30 lx resulted in suprathreshold visibility for these conditions as well. The results of these computational analyses were largely confirmed in a full-scale, outdoor field demonstration attended by transportation agency engineers and highway contractors. Together, the findings suggest that when lighting systems provide sufficient glare control, light levels do not always need to be especially high to ensure adequate visibility for workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2337
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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