Effects of Road Lighting on Motorways

  • Published: Norwegian Public Roads Administration, 2008
  • Authors: Wanvik, P
  • Date Added: 07 Apr 2016
  • Last Update: 07 Apr 2016
  • Format: pdf


The study has three objectives.  To investigate how the effect of road lighting on motorway RTIs varies with different weather and road surface conditions.  The second is to evaluate the future benefit of road lighting as a safety measure on motorways.  The third is to evaluate the need for further research in the field of motorway lighting.


This article presents a cross-sectional study of the effects of road lighting on motorways mainly in the Netherlands.  The main source of data is a Dutch database of RTIs covering the period 1987 – 2006, but British and Swedish data are also used.

Key Findings:

  • The estimated effect of motorway lighting in preventing darkness RTIs in the Netherlands during dry conditions is 49 per cent. This effect was much lower in British and Swedish data and also during wet or snowy conditions.

  • Collisions with lighting poles constitute a large number of RTIs on lit motorways and reduces the safety effect of road lighting.

  • Road lighting seems to be ineffective during fog.

  • It is essential that vehicles running off the road are taken care of in a safe way before they hit a light pole or other vehicle or object.

  • In the long term, the benefit of road lighting will probably be reduced along with the implementation of new vehicle and road technology.

  • Future motorway lighting will be of the adaptive type for the purpose of energy savings.

  • LED guide lights may be an alternative to road lighting on low traffic motorways in order to reduce energy consumption. However, the effect on RTIs needs to be evaluated.




Partial-UK research (Netherlands and Sweden data also used).  Report produced in Norway.