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Research Report 383 Measurement of the reflection properties of road surfaces to improve the safety and sustainability of road lighting

Published: | Category: Safety, security and public health , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

This study reports on a New Zealand-wide evaluation of road surfaces for reflection properties relevant to road lighting design. The sections of road to be surveyed were chosen from the national Road Assessment and Maintenance Management database (RAMM) on the basis of location, age and surfacing material. The measurement device was the portable reflectometer known as ‘Memphis’. Road lighting for safety in New Zealand is currently based on the Australian and New Zealand standards AS/NZS 1158.1.1:2005 and AS/NZS 1158.2:2005, and use modified CIE tables of pavement reflectance based on New Zealand measurements made in 1982.

The study measured 140 sites, from Auckland to Christchurch, over a 6-week period from October to December 2008. It found an average Qo of 0.050 and an average S1 of 0.57, which are significantly different to the values being used in design today (Qo = 0.090 and S1 = 0.58 and 1.61). The low Qo value (44% below the current design value) means that New Zealand lighting designs will be darker than expected and often produce high levels of glare.

If adopted in full, the new design figures are likely to increase the capital and operating costs of new traffic route lighting (category V) by around 50%. This figure may reduce in time as luminaire optics better align with the new road surface design figures.

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: 2009
  • Reference: 383
  • ISBN/ISSN: ISBN 978-0-478-35214-6 (PDF) ISBN 978-0-478-35215-3 (paperback) ISSN 1173-3764 (PDF) ISSN 1173 3756 (paperback)
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