There is an increasing interest in using new lighting technologies such as light emitting diode (LED), induction, and plasma light sources in roadway lighting. The most commonly claimed benefits of the new lighting systems include increased reliability, improved efficiency, and reduced maintenance costs. While Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is also getting a lot of interest from vendors pushing the new light sources for roadway lighting applications, none of these new lighting technologies has been used in the state highway systems by INDOT. Before adopting the new lighting technologies, INDOT would like to determine if the new lighting technologies meet required light output and if they are cost effective. Moreover, it is necessary for INDOT to establish standardized guidelines for evaluating the new lighting systems prior to the formal adoption.

This study first conducted literature reviews on the new lighting technologies. Surveys were also conducted to identify the perceptions of state highway agencies and local cities towards the new lighting technologies including LED, induction, and plasma, and their experiences in use of these new lighting technologies. Various luminaires, including HPS, LED, plasma, and induction luminaires from different manufacturers were installed and evaluated for both conventional and high mast lightings at a test site over a period of 12 months. Illuminance measurements were made to determine the light levels and illuminance uniformities produced by those LED, plasma and induction luminaires with the existing lighting infrastructures. Comparisons were also made between the light performances produced by different luminaires. Electric currents were measured to determine the energy consumptions by different luminaires. Life cycle cost analysis was also conducted to determine if the new lighting sources are cost-effective compared to the corresponding HPS lighting sources and assess the possible return or payback periods for the LED, plasma, and induction luminaires evaluated in this study. Illuminance measurements were also made for two urban street lightings to map the light performances of LED and plasma luminaires with different lighting layouts.

Main findings and recommendations were made to assist INDOT Traffic Engineering in upgrading the lighting policies and developing technical specifications for adopting the new lighting technologies.

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new lighting technologies, LED, plasma, induction, roadway lighting, street lighting, conventional lighting, high mast lighting, light distribution, illuminance metrics, power metrics, electric current, energy saving, life cycle cost, return period

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana



Date of this Version