IESNA RP-19-01

Roadway Sign Lighting
The LIGHTING ® AUTHORITY

IESNA RP-19-01 IESNA Recommeded Practice for Roadway Sign Lighting Publication of this Committee Report has been approved by the IESNA. Prepared by: The Sign Lighting Subcommittee of the IESNA Roadway Lighting Committee . Suggestions for revisions should be directed to the IESNA.

Copyright 2001 by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. in any electronic retrieval system or otherwise. Approved by the IESNA Board of Directors. . without prior written permission of the IESNA. New York. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form. Director Educational and Technical Development. please forward them to Rita Harrold. 2001. If any errors are noted in this document. at the above address for verification and correction. New York 10005. Published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. March 3. ISBN # 0-87995-175-3 Printed in the United States of America. as a Transaction of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. 120 Wall Street. All rights reserved. Careful attention is given to style and accuracy. The IESNA welcomes and urges feedback and comments. IESNA Standards and Guides are developed through committee consensus and produced by the IESNA Office in New York.

Arens J. Havard W.* M. H. Robinson* S. F. Stemprok D. A. C. Havard M. Freedman D. Cheng* R B. Wylie** A. Owens* P. Wegner* R. E. Degnan N.G. E. Turner H. C. J. E.J. A. Shaflik* R.E. Okon M. Garner R. McCarthy* J. Craig L.* P. McCormick** S. Sitzema G. Chau* A. Jr. Dalle Pezze* J. Odle A. Fairbanks** G. Vincent R. Strong* R. Van Dusen R. Maners. C. Eslinger T. A. P. Keith G. Monsoor W. Macha* M. Miller* D. Owens M. Sabu S. Kauffman* M. Keck** D.Prepared by the Sign Lighting Subcommittee of the IESNA Roadway Lighting Committee Sign Lighting Subcommittee Ian Lewin. Crossland W. Bucci* J. Gibbons* R. Schmidt* C. J. Vogel* V. Janoff J. N. G. Smallwood S. D. Packer R. Stark R. Doyle* W. L. Ananthanarayanan S. Kroll* R. A. Hamm G. E. Thomas* D. Ketvirtis E.H.C. E. Carney T. Durys J. E.G. S. York* * Advisory Members ** Honorary Members . Kramer* J. Adrian Y. Burkett J. Keller* A. LeVere I. Daiber* J. H.C Watson J. Lewin L. E. W-Annoh* J. Hauser* J. R. Arumugasaamy J. Reed. Fenimore* D. Busser** M.D. Monahan R. Canavan E. Subcommittee Chair B. Lewis* C. D. Jewell* R. Loch D. Maloney H. Harlow* J. R. Morel R. Waight* J. P. Smallwood V. Odle M. Hughes D.J. G. Crawford* M.C. Rose E. Simard R. A. Gupta R. Braun* M.D. Fox* M. B. Cacique* V.L. Rainier C. H. Arens R.L. Dittmann J.A. Keck L. Husby* R. Box R. P. Bastianpillai P. Hart G. Maltezos M. Nabours* K. S. Chong V. R. D. E. Summerford* C. Mickel C. B. L. Weaver S. Spitulski* R. Waters P. Clear P. H. Chapman* B. Negash* H. Pimenta* R. G. Abdelsamed* P. A. Ananthanarayanan J. Shelby** A. Bradford S. Irvine* M. A. B. Mace D. Chong Z. M. B. Rainier* P. V. Morehead* E. Schwab B. G. Jr. Chair W. Shaflik G. Oerkvitz W. M. Meyers J. W. Cimino R. Waight IESNA Roadway Lighting Committee Paul J. Lutkevich. McKnight F. Rowsell P. Contos W. Buraczynski* K A. J. Edman** K. Silbiger* J-F. Allegretto* B. T. Armstrong P.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Retroflectorization and External Sign Lighting . . . . . . . .2 Uniformity Ratios. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 12. . . . . .2 Scheduled Inspection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Ambient Luminance. .4 Sign Luminance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Design levels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Reflectivity and contrast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 7. .3 Need for Maintenance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IESNA RP-19-01 Contents 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Manufacturing Tolerance (MT).4 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 12. . . . Standardized or Regulated Sign Characteristics . . .7 12. . . . . . . . .2. . . . . .6 12. . . . . . . Internally Lighted Signs (Fixed Message Signs Only) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 9. . . . . . . . .1 Lamp Lumen Depreciation Factor (LLD). . Classification of Lighted Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sign Light Source Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Design Levels. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Retroflectorization and Vehicle Forward Headlighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Source characteristics. . .6 11. . . . . .7 . . . Light Loss Considerations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 General. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . .6 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Luminaire Ambient Temperature Factor (TF). . . . . .7 12. . .4 Ballast Factor (BF). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Color rendering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 General. . . . . . . . . .4 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 12. . . . . . . . . .3 Luminaire Location . . . .5 Voltage-to-Luminaire Factor (VF) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . Maintenance of Lighted Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . .6 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Luminaire Dirt Depreciation Factor (LDD). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Ground or Remote Located Luminaires. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 7. . . . . . .2 Bottom Mounted Luminaires. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 5. . . . . . . . . . . .1 Top Mounted Luminaires. . . . . . . . .2 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Uniformity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introduction . . . .2. . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 General. . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . .6 11. . . . . . . . . . . . Electrical Control Devices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 5. . . . . . . . . . . Externally Lighted Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 12. . . . . . . . . .2 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 10. . . .4 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . . .5 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Elements of Roadway Sign Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 5. . . . .2 4. . . . . . . .3 Uniformity Ratios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Light Loss Factor (LLF). . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 14. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IESNA RP-19-01 Contents 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sign Surface Reflectance and Color Change Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . Sign Lighting Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 Source characteristics. (2) complexity of highway design increases.. Ground-mounted signs should be lighted where there is a need to attract special attention to upcoming traf- 2. Additional practical applications regarding non-highway signs may be found in Chapter 17 of the IESNA Handbook. dirt on a sign panel. letters. the projection of the main beams downward). size. or sign face wear reduce the effectiveness of the reflective materials. sign lighting can provide the sign legibility necessary for decisive driver action. such as where the approach to a roadway configuration is of complex geometric design. During some inclement weather conditions. CLASSIFICATION OF LIGHTED SIGNS Signs for this recommended practice are classified into two categories: (a) Externally lighted signs . Roadway luminaires should be placed with care so as not to cause a distracting shadow on the pavement and a significant reduction in the pavement lighting level because of the sign. Energy consumption is a major consideration in each application. fluorescent lamps operating at low ambient temperature). and (4) ambient luminance increases. 9th Edition. 1 . (i. They do not provide standards for the shape.signs on which a fixed message is illuminated by an external source of light. headlamps covered with dirt may be ineffective in illuminating retro-reflective signs.signs in which the source of light is enclosed within the sign and the message becomes understandable because of the varying transmittance of the sign face. (3) Sight distance for sign recognition is increased when signs are illuminated. frost. INTRODUCTION This recommended practice is a revision and expansion of the 1982 IESNA publication RP-19. (b)Internally lighted signs .e. This document does not address the requirements for changeable message signs. regional or local government agency. message. Well-designed sign lighting can aid the driver in rapid. which may make it more appropriate than others for a given application. has a high level of (ambient) luminance. against which a sign is to be seen. 2000. provincial. color. accurate recognition and understanding of the sign’s message. 3. SIGN LIGHT SOURCE SELECTION 3.IESNA RP-19-01 IESNA Recommended Roadway Sign Lighting Practice for fic patterns.1 These recommendations provide guidelines only for the lighting of roadway signs.3 This document is intended to supplement and not to supersede the regulations and requirements of any federal. Several different light sources are used to light roadway signs. and ease of maintenance. temperature of operation (e. and the vertical and horizontal alignments of the roadways at the approach to the sign. It becomes important to provide light where frequent and severe conditions of condensate. symbols. However. The lighting of retro-reflective signs is beneficial when such retroflectorization (formerly retro-reflectorization) alone cannot adequately convey the sign message. Traffic signs mounted on overhead structures should be lighted for adequate nighttime conspicuity and legibility of the sign message for several reasons: (1) Retroflectorization alone may not provide sufficient advance sign legibility due to the design of vehicle headlighting systems. 1. Lighting of roadway signs becomes more significant as (1) volume of traffic increases. or location of roadway signs since these are covered by the design requirements of the applicable federal regulations2 and the appropriate highway agencies.g. state. (3) adverse weather in specific locations is prevalent. (2) Roadway lighting is not intended to properly activate or light overhead retro-reflective signs. A sign that is designed to be legible under daylight conditions can also be lighted to fulfill its basic purpose at night. and must be balanced by other factors such as color rendering. Where the background. Each light source has specific characteristics. This serves to improve safety by reducing the possibility that motorists will stop or drastically reduce speed at signs that may otherwise be difficult to read. careful placement of roadway luminaires in advance of an overhead sign location will provide some beneficial sign illumination in the event that the actual sign lighting is out of service..

dimensions. the font. These standards require uniform colors.2 Color rendering. The designer should be aware of and consider the spectral distribution characteristics of light sources prior to the selection of the best source for a given application. Since sign colors (as well as shapes) have a standardized meaning. It is therefore important to consider both the ability to distinguish the shape of a sign against its background. shapes.1 General. as well as the ability to recognize the critical detail of symbols.4 These tables will aid a designer in selecting a specific light source for a particular sign lighting application. The primary exception are signs which are self-luminous. 3. The distance at which the sign legend can be read. Lighting must not significantly degrade the color sensation from that viewed under daylight conditions. The visibility of most signs during the day is provided by daylighting. the expectation of the drivers. Lamp Family Incandescent Fluorescent Mercury Deluxe Other types Metal Halide Sodium High pressure High pressure (color improved) Low pressure Efficacy* (Lumens/Watt) 15 to 25 45 to 93 40 to 49 34 to 45 69 to 110 81 to 125 52 to 94 80 to 150 Lamp Life (Hours) 750 to 8000 7500 to 12.000 to 15. either lighted internally or with luminous legends.IESNA RP-19-01 Selection of a light source should be based on its efficacy and lamp life (see Table 1). These colors cover a wide range in the visible spectrum and sign faces should be lighted to retain these colors for identification purposes.2 Since international standardization exists to a certain extent. Others use symbols rather than alphanumeric characters. and may be effectively lighted with sources that are unsatisfactory for other colors.000+ 24.000 24. national policies or requirements may dictate uniformly oriented lettering or messages. and sign colors.000+ 7500 to 24. in addition to careful evaluation of its color rendering abilities (see Table 2). is a function of the size of the critical detail. ELEMENTS OF ROADWAY SIGN LIGHTING 4. 2 . or the symbols recognized.000 to 18.000 24. The color rendering ability of various light sources as listed in Table 2 is used to determine light source desirability and is based upon the ability of the source to adequately render the individual sign colors listed in Table 3. Sign colors have been assigned meanings in the United States by the Department of Transportation2 as shown in Table 3. Lamp-life hours is rated average life of typical lamps considered for this use. alphanumeric legends.5 Certain sign designs may utilize only a few of these colors. the adaptation of the human visual system to ambient Highway signs in North America are standardized by the appropriate federal authority. and symbols.3. In addition. Includes nominal ballast losses where applicable. consult manufacturer’s catalog. 5. (These data are current at time of publication and subject to improvement. the luminance and contrast of that detail to its background. Furthermore.000+ 10. Lamp Characteristics. and their meaning understood without the need to read a legend. STANDARDIZED OR REGULATED SIGN CHARACTERISTICS 5. Some signs can be recognized by shape. roadway Table 1. requirements for full retroflectorization exist for certain types of signs.000 10.) For data on individual lamp types.4. it is necessary that the colors appear essentially the same by day or night. The visibility of most signs at night is provided by vehicle headlighting systems or by fixed sign lighting equipment. letter and numeral fonts.000 * Approximate total efficacy at 100 hours shown for lamps and ballasts at wattages normally considered for roadway sign lighting application. signs are growing increasingly similar world-wide.

(2) Sign luminance above ambient.background color for guide signs (other than those using brown or white). blue. Even with daylight levels of adaptation. the contrast between the letters and their background. (Fluorescent yellow-green may be used as an option in certain cases). black. which are important in providing legibility. The ratio of the legibility distance to size varies with contrast. Legend color for circular outline and diagonal bar prohibitory symbol. adaptation luminance. of letter height. the minimum adaptation level of the human visual system. and glare. Legend color on white. and as a legend color with a white background for permissive parking regulations. GREEN . Color rendering of typical highway sign colors by various light sources. WHITE . except STOP signs. YELLOW . and the expected level of disability glare in order to assure that a reasonably high percentage of the population can read the sign legend at the required distance. The angular size of the critical detail decreases as the distance from the driver to the sign increases. and the visual acuity capabilities of the driver. 3 . BLUE . WRONG WAY signs. and on Interstate route markers. (feet per inch). green. BLACK . Transportation sign colors and assigned meanings.background color for construction and maintenance signs. Table 3. DO NOT ENTER messages.background color for guide and information signs related to points of recreational or cultural interest.background color for STOP signs. mileposts. A designer should consider a balance of letter (or symbol) size. Elements of roadway sign lighting. or in terms of a ratio of distance to critical detail such as meters per centimeter. yellow.background color for information signs related to motorist services (including police services and rest areas). and night speed limit signs. 3 RED . and red signs. BROWN . there is a limit to the legibility distance due to the visual capabilities of the driver. Legend color on brown. ORANGE . Sodium High pressure color improved Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Sign Color Blue Green Yellow Orange Red Brown White Incandescent Fluorescent* All types Fair Good Good Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Good Good Good Excellent Deluxe Good Good Good Good Good Good Fair Mercury Other phosphors Clear Fair Good Good Good Fair Good Fair Good Good Good Poor Poor Poor Fair Metal Halide Clear Excellent Excellent Good Good Good Good Excellent High pressure Poor Poor Good Good Fair Poor Fair Low pressure Very Poor Very Poor Good Good Very Poor Poor Very Poor * Color performance will vary by type. Legibility distance can be expressed in terms of distance (meters or feet) when the physical size of the critical detail is constant. and orange signs. guide signs. certain weigh station signs.IESNA RP-19-01 Table 2. include the following: (1) Ambient luminance. the level of disability glare present.background color for some ONE WAY signs.background color for route markers. light. multiway supplemental plates.background color for warning signs. and regulatory signs.

Suitable uniformity of luminance over the sign face will add to its effectiveness. Alternatively. excluding the legend and border. Turn-on times may consider the time necessary for the warm-up of some lamps.3 Luminaire Location. (c) Glare of source may only be partly shielded for traffic approaching the rear of the sign. The recommended design range of maintained levels for externally lighted signs are tabulated in Table 4. EXTERNALLY LIGHTED SIGNS 7. 5. 7.2 5.1 Top Mounted Luminaires. The contrast between legend and background will determine how quickly the message is read by drivers.2 Uniformity Ratios. Sign terminology. Ambient luminance is the background luminance against which the sign will be viewed. Medium: Intermediate areas with small commercial developments. and rural roads. (d) Reflected source image may veil some or much of 4 . Lower maximum/minimum ratios will produce a more pleasing appearance and a more legible sign. unless proper shielding is provided. There is no approved method for determining ambient luminance.1 Design Levels. shrubbery. Uniformity as used in this recommended practice is concerned with the ratios of Various devices.3 Reflectivity and Contrast. 3. (5) Uniformity ratio of overall sign lighting. and lighted roadways and interchanges. If the designer uses the luminance values listed in Table 4. The sign luminance will determine how well the signs will be noticed among competing distractions of other roadway lighting and surrounding advertising signs. (3) Reflectivity of legend and background (see Figure 1).5 times whatever other illuminance level is designed. 6. A maximum-to-minimum uniformity ratio of 6 to 1 is recommended as an acceptable ratio of illuminance levels on the sign face. The luminaire that lights the sign may be located at either the top or bottom of the sign or remotely on an adjacent support.4 Sign Luminance.6 5.5 Uniformity. 7. nor is there agreement on a definition of area classification for ambient luminance. trees. High: Areas with high levels of street lighting levels and/or brightly lighted building facades and/or billboards such as encountered on a freeway through or near a downtown area. such as photocontrols. The following explanations of low. This would include backgrounds of mountains.2 Ambient Luminance. (4) Contrast between legend and background. 7. a maximum turn on level of 750 lux (70 fc) may be used for all conditions. If implemented. These conditions are properties of the sign materials and are dictated by the specifying authority. fields. General considerations regarding the effects of the location are listed in the paragraphs below. (b) Luminaires will not hide the message. turn on levels should be 1. The designer may use either the illuminance or luminance recommendations provided in Table 4. (a) Less snow and dirt will collect on the cover. 7. and high ambient luminance are categorized for purposes of this recommended practice: Low: Rural areas without roadway and/or intersection lighting and/or with very low levels of commercial or residential site lighting. grass.IESNA RP-19-01 maximum-to-minimum luminance values and gradients of luminance on the sign face.7 Design of switching controls for sign lighting systems should consider use of devices that are independent of the roadway lighting system. Such independent controls may allow earlier switch-on than for the roadway system. medium. this recommended uniformity ratio also applies to these luminance levels as diffuse material is assumed for the sign specifications.5 times the minimum average sign illuminance in Table 4 or 1. may be used to control sign lighting. A study of the surroundings at any given installation may dictate which location is best suited for that installation. 5. ELECTRICAL CONTROL DEVICES Figure 1.

(a) Reflected source image less likely to veil sign text/graphics and less likely to produce reflected glare.1 General. assumed to be diffuse. (e) Can result in both light trespass and sky glow unless properly shielded and/or optically controlled.3 Uniformity Ratios. (c) Luminaire location is easier to reach for servicing. INTERNALLY LIGHTED SIGNS (FIXED MESSAGE SIGNS ONLY) 8. (See chapter 17 of reference 3 for general information on lighted signs. (f) Luminaires require effective shielding and/or optical control to minimize objectionable spill light under the sign. Lighting for Exterior Environments. Addressing Obtrusive Lighting (Urban Sky Glow and Light Trespass) in Conjunction with Roadway Lighting and TM-11.2 Design Levels.* 7. Ambient light level Maintained Average Sign Illuminance lux footcandles Maintained Average Sign Luminance* Candelas/ Candelas/ sq. Luminance and lighted uniformity of signs depend on the transmittance of the sign face material. (e) Luminaire covers may collect snow and dirt.3.* 7. multiply the candelas/sq. Values refer to the luminance of a white translucent legend and border (see Figure 1). Light Trespass: Research Results and Recommendations. the sign text/graphic and/or may produce reflected glare.9 3. (g) Orientation of the luminaires will provide minimal sky glow. higher luminance values may be required to obtain equivalent legibility. (g) Luminaires require effective shielding and/or optical control to reduce sky glow. foot 20 40 80 1.3 meter (one x one foot) should have a luminance difference ratio of more than 1. Size will vary with the legend.4 Low Medium High 140 280 560 13 26 52 * Sign luminance is based on maintained reflectance of 45 percent for white sign letters. meters sq. but may be cleaned by rain. Where the legend and border color is other than white. The maximum-to-minimum luminance ratio of the sign background should not exceed 6 to 1. Extinguishable message signs are a variation of the fixed message sign where the message must be legible only during a desired period of time. 8. and the effectiveness of the internal light control system. (b) May produce glare if not properly shielded.3. but also under daylight conditions when deenergized. (e) Luminaires may produce daytime shadows on the sign panel.142. (f) Glare of the source may only be partly shielded for traffic approaching the rear of the sign. they must be lighted such that the viewer perceives the same shape and color both by day and night. (a) Require a carefully controlled light source. 5 . (d) Luminaires may be prone to masking by plowed and/or accumulated snow unless properly located. (c) May be prone to vandalism.2:1. RP-33. the intensity and location of light source(s). Internal lighting may be applied to any of the various traffic signs used to guide and direct motorists. Recommended maintained lighting levels for externally and internally lighted roadway signs. Recommended design values of maintained luminance for internally lighted roadway signs are shown in Table 4. In addition. unless proper shielding is provided. during hours of darkness. 8. TM-10. foot value by 3.7 7.3 x 0.3 Ground or Remote Located Luminaires. Internally lighted signs must be legible not only at night. No two adjacent areas 0. (b) No daytime shadows and reflections are produced by luminaire.* *Note: For more information on issues related to light trespass and sky glow consult the following IESNA publications.) 8.IESNA RP-19-01 Table 4. (d) Luminaires may hide the sign message from drivers at some viewing angles. For luminance in footlamberts (unit now deprecated).2 Bottom Mounted Luminaires.

LIGHT LOSS CONSIDERATIONS 11. provincial. or due to a vehicle’s collision with a luminaire or sign structure.8. the main emphasis of this section applies to the actual sign lighting equipment. The frequency of sign lighting inspection should be coordinated with an agency’s fixed lighting system mainte- 12. and readjustment of luminaires. In lieu of a defined maintaining agency. Proper maintenance of sign lighting can be best accomplished with periodic night inspection. Lamp replacement requires an efficient and effective program to maintain designed lighting levels.1 General. and the prompt replacement of lamps and defective components.2 Scheduled Inspection. other reporting sources are state. Periodic checks or inspection at the lamp replacement interval should be made to determine proper sign luminaire alignment. Maintenance procedures are required because of the following items: (a) Light output depreciation caused by accumulation of dust and dirt on lamps. For signs located on the right side of the roadway (North America). Accumulated dust and dirt can be removed from a sign luminaire’s cover. and some headlight design technology results in very low intensities at the angles involved. and refractors or globes. Lamp failures may also be caused by excessive vibration of the sign luminaire. and sign location are very favorable for creating high luminance values. lens. 12. reflector. RETROFLECTORIZATION AND VEHICLE FORWARD HEADLIGHTING 10. Adequate maintenance is also recommended for the sign face. or repair to the roadway lighting system. light source and driver locations. Premature lamp outages of high intensity discharge and fluorescent sources may be caused by wide fluctuation(s) in supply voltage. Signs are usually lighted by a fixed sign lighting system or by vehicle forward headlighting. For signs located on the left side of the roadway. This condition can also cause ballast failures. Proper and easily legible identification of the lighted sign structures is desirable for accurate reporting. The light output of a 6 . MAINTENANCE OF LIGHTED SIGNS 11. (d) Luminaire outages due to lamp or circuit component failure. however. vehicle headlamps position. and loose electrical connections. and when cleaning is performed at regular intervals. 9. or both. the materials and sign design must provide for reasonable reflecting properties regardless of the sign. repair.1 General. and driver location. reflectors. Included are such items as the cleaning. the driver position. Overhead sign locations are the least favorable for producing high luminance values from vehicle headlamps. Retro-reflection greatly increases the luminance for certain angles of sign. exclusive of the legend. Other causes of sign lighting equipment outages are vandalism or flying debris from vehicular traffic. and local law enforcement agencies. nance program and/or the field crews providing inspection. RETROFLECTORIZATION AND EXTERNAL SIGN LIGHTING Since signs which utilize retro-reflective materials must be visible during daylight hours. and lamp(s) with suitable cleaning agents and methods. Vibration from wind and heavy vehicular traffic flow and collisions can cause external sign lighting systems to lose alignment for optimum lighting on the sign face. Maintenance of lighted signs should include all measures necessary to ensure continuous and effective operation of the lighting equipment. conditions are much less favorable when low beam headlamps are in use. burnouts. light source. (b) Normal lamp lumen depreciation due to aging.9 11. Group replacement should be performed at regular intervals in a given area or on a particular circuit. Repeated failures can be reduced by using devices designed to protect the vulnerable components of the sign lighting equipment. External sign luminaires can therefore be used on signs made with retro-reflective materials to enhance the sign luminance.10 11. Specifying agencies often require retro-reflective materials for signs to be used for the legend or the background.IESNA RP-19-01 Background is defined as that area of the sign face enclosed by the border. (c) Misalignment of the sign luminaire aiming due to vibration. county. maintenance.3 Need for Maintenance.

2. This loss is determined by estimating the dirt category (very clean. Each lamp and luminaire combination has its own distinctive characteristic of light output versus ambient temperature. which are beyond the control of the lighting system owner or operator. and inspection for failed components is particularly important with regard to energy conservation. and the effects of the high ultraviolet light component of sunlight. Information about the chosen lamp and its lumen depreciation and mortality are available from lamp manufacturers’ tables and graphs. clean. A figure of 80 percent maintenance relates to a 20 percent depreciation. Visual inspection is also recommended. SIGN LIGHTING MEASUREMENTS Measurements of sign lighting should be carried out in accordance with recommended procedures of the IESNA. or by daylight. Consult manufacturers’ data. affects retro-reflective materials to a much larger extent than it affects painted surfaces. For further information.2 Light Loss Factor (LLF). and depend upon actions of others. 14. may be considerable.6 Manufacturing Tolerance (MT). Darker colored sign surfaces tend to fade to a lighter shade. Regular maintenance in terms of cleaning. while others are controlled by planned maintenance operations. The total LLF factor is the product of several individual LLF’s. should be implemented or the system will not perform as expected.2. dirty. the system designer should determine and apply a realistic LLF factor to all design calculations. moderate. Paints and dyes on the sign surface fade as the result of age.11 7 . lamp type. high temperatures. Consult manufacturers’ data and materials handbooks for more information. This should be kept in mind when using published data. Other factors. Moisture. particularly fluorescent. 12. Information is available regarding how the ballast circuit type. line voltage variation and other factors affect the actual versus rated light output of various lamp/ballast combinations.2.5 Voltage-to-Luminaire Factor (VF) The voltage at the sign luminaire (voltage drop considered) may be less than the ballast requires for proper lamp lumen output. Several factors that represent depreciation over time after installation may be combined into a single multiplying factor for inclusion in calculations. A designer should realize that LLF is an overall factor composed of these several separate factors. Many of these factors are controlled by the selection of equipment. such that contrast between the legend or symbol and its background decreases. 12. Field measurements of sign surface retro-reflectance are recommended to monitor the changes in reflectance that affect contrast. The accumulation of dirt on luminaires results in a loss in light output from the luminaire.1 Lamp Lumen Depreciation Factor (LLD). changes in sign surface reflectance and color have an important effect on the luminances and contrast of those surfaces.3 12.3 Luminaire Ambient Temperature Factor (TF). by vehicle headlighting. 12. The effect of ambient temperature on the output of some lamps. If the sign lighting system (internal or external) is independent of the vehicle headlamps then the lighting system designer is responsible for developing a recommended LLF.2. are system voltage regulation and the control of emissions into the atmosphere.2. 12.IESNA RP-19-01 newly manufactured. or very dirty) from definitions given in the IESNA Lighting Handbook. including rain and condensation. each of which is controlled and evaluated separately. Consult manufacturers’ data or the IESNA Lighting Handbook 3 for LLD factors in terms of operating hours. 13. These maintenance plans. thermal cycling. Lamp manufacturers publish “remaining light” rather than a depreciation factor. relamping. clean lamp differ from an in-service luminaire or lamp by a factor usually referred to as the Light Loss Factor (LLF).2 Luminaire Dirt Depreciation Factor (LDD). (which may be unacceptable). once incorporated into the design. SIGN SURFACE REFLECTANCE AND COLOR CHANGE CONSIDERATIONS Regardless of whether a sign is lighted by an external fixed sign lighting system. However. consult the IESNA Lighting Handbook:3 12. 12. Consult manufacturers’ data or the IESNA Lighting Handbook 3 for TF factors. some of which are listed below. Luminaire manufacturing tolerance may result in a light output variance of up to 20 percent.4 Ballast Factor (BF). clean luminaire or headlamp equipped with a newly manufactured.2.

June 1991. S. and P. Sec. 120 Wall Street. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. “Characteristics and Needs for Overhead Guide Sign Illumination from Vehicular Headlamps. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. Roadway Lighting Committee of the IESNA.” Council on Uniform Traffic Control Devices of Canada. Guide for the Selection of Photocontrols for Outdoor Lighting Applications. Floor 17. NY 10005-4001. 191. D.” Society of Automotive Engineers. Washington DC. New York. IESNA Lighting Handbook. Department of Transportation. 120 Wall Street.120 Wall Street. 3. M.” Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Society. Saremi. Floor 17. 9th Edition. J. SAE publication no. IESNA Testing Procedures Committee. 2. 1998. Lewin. 8 . January 1974. “Night Legibility Distances of Highway Signs. NY 10005-4001. McLean. Transportation Association of Canada. 11. Simmons: “Color Recognition of Retroreflective Traffic Signs Under Various Lighting Conditions”. National Research Council. 4.B. T. Public Roads. Transportation Research Record 1213. Vol. 120 Wall Street. Guide for Photometric Measurements of Roadway Sign Installations. 1958. NY 10005-4001. “The Potential Impact of Automotive Headlight Changes on the Visibility of Retro-reflective Highway Signs. Arens. LM-52-98.B. 870238.R. 8. 1982. 3. Hussain. NY 10005-4001. Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center. 1989.S. Floor 17. Roadway Lighting Committee of the IESNA. 6. Washington. U. No. 2A-11 through 2A-15. Washington. “Recommended Practice for Roadway Sign Lighting. Arens. Allen.IESNA RP-19-01 References 1.” Report no. pp. 1998.” RP-19-1982. SAE. p. 9. Transportation Research Board. Vol. “ A Luminance Approach to Highway Sign Lighting.C. pp. Federal Highway Administration. DC 1988.” Federal Highway Administration. 55. Parsonson: “Effects of Light Sources On Highway Sign Color Recognition”. 1-7. No. 5. A. VA.S. New York. 7.J. Floor 17. I. 1987 International Congress.” Highway Research Board Bulletin. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. 1. “Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices. New York. 122. Federal Highway Administration. John B. 2.. 2000. Troy Michigan. J. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. F. DG-1398. NY 10005-4001. 33-40. No.120 Wall Street. New York. New York. Arens. 10. Floor 17. Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. “Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. FHWA-RD-98-135. and C.

Washington. Washington. Federal Highway Administration. Letter Width. DC. Dahlstedt. Dauber. “Luminance Requirements for Illuminated Signs. Allen. Gordon. 5565. pp. Changes of acuity and contrast sensitivity with age. W. S. Colomb. Bernstein.” Public Roads. CIE Publication No. FHWA/RD-80/051. P. Minimal Luminance Requirements for Official Highway Signs. 179. et al. Youngblood. Straub. Woltman. D.” Highway Research Board Bulletin No.. Freeman. Forbes. B. Allen and A. Michele and Gerald Michaut. “Luminance Uniformity and Legibility of Traffic Signs. Report No. • • • Mace. Sven. Highway Research Board. 1984. W. • • W. Forbes. 1977 Wachtel. 1939. FHWA/RD-84/087. May 1986. 1986. 109-128. Federal Highway Administration. “An Evaluation of the Luminance Contrast Requirements of Highway Signs. Sign Luminance Requirements for Various Background Complexities. L. No. King and G. S.216. Vol. DC.” A. 127. D. DC. National Academy of Sciences. 628. Federal Highway Administration. 313-319. E. NCHRP Project 3-27 (Loan copies available). and Retroflectorization. 1966. L. Proceedings. L. H.IESNA RP-19-01 Bibliography • M. Federal Highway Administration. et al. Virginia.” Highway Research Record no. R.R. Pollack. 321-335.B. Report No.” American Journal of Optometry. B. “Night Visibility of Overhead Guide Signs: A Review of the Literature. 217-221. 1969. 1-22.. 1933. “Retroreflective Road Signs: Visibility at Night. National Academy of Sciences. “Color and Brightness Factors in Simulated and Full-Scale Traffic Sign Visibility. Report No. 1995. Washington. 67-92. 1970. Part 3. “Sign Brightness and Legibility.R. September 1985. Richards. Washington. FHWA/RD-85/056. 43.” Lighting Research and Technology. pp. 5. L.” Transportation Research Record No. Zweig.” Traffic Engineering. Donald A. Jerry and Ross Netherton. W. DC pp. “Legibility Distances of Highway Destination Signs in Relation to Letter Height.. 1977. 6. No. Holmes. 1967 pp.” Highway Research Record. Olson. 1-8. W.” Highway Research Record No. R. 4. “The comparative visibility of standard luminous and non-luminous signs. L. FHWA/RD886/151. and W. pp. DC. Youngblood and H. 16-37. D. Washington. J. Vol. “Vision at levels of night road illumination XIII. Austria. “Factors in Highway Sign Visibility. Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage: Maintaining Night-Time Visibility of Retroreflective Road Signs. 1968. Hostetter. 377. P.” Transportation Research Record no. 44-48. DC. “A brightness inventory of contemporary signing materials for guide signs. 1093. pp. pp. pp. and K.” Report no. • • • • • • • • • • • • 9 . W. pp. Hills. Vienna. McLean. Safety and Environmental Design Consideration in the Use of Commercial Electronic Variable-Message Signage. and W. “Evaluating Nighttime Sign Surrounds. Determining the Luminous Requirements of Retroreflective Signing. 1974. and A. June 1980 Woltman. M. 58-65. 1955. National Academy of Sciences.” Proceedings. Forbes and R. J. 113. pp. Washington. D. Mills. pp. Mace. 1971.. L.

The LIGHTING AUTHORITY ® Illuminating Engineering Society of North America 120 Wall St.org $28. NY 10005 http://www.00 Order # RP-19-01 ISBN # 0-87995-175-3 . 17th Floor New York.iesna.