In early 1973, the continuous roadway lighting on the main lanes of Interstate 35 through Austin, Texas, was reduced by approximately 50 percent as a power-saving measure in response to a critical area energy shortage. Analyses of accident data revealed that this reduction in roadway lighting significantly increased the frequency, rate, and severity of nighttime accidents in the affected freeway sections. The most notable increases were associated with a sharp rise in nighttime rear-end and pedestrian-related accidents. The cutback in roadway lighting saved approximately 450,000 KWH of electrical power per year, enough to maintain 20 all-electric homes of average size for the same time period. In terms of energy cost savings to the City, this reduction amounted to $25,000 per year. In addition, a savings of $1,250 per year in lamp replacement costs was achieved through the cutback. However, accident cost increases after the lighting reduction were conservatively estimated to be just under $17,000 per year. Public reaction to the lighting cutback, generally speaking, was apathetic. The findings of this study were forwarded to the City of Austin in 1975 and, last year, full use of the roadway lighting on Interstate 35 was resumed. Although positive energy conservation gains were made through the lighting cutback, these gains were offset by a measurable decrease in motorist safety. /Author/

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    SAFE Association

    P.O. Box 631
    Canoga Park, CA  United States  91303
  • Authors:
    • Richards, S H
  • Publication Date: 1979

Media Info

  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 24-26
  • Serial:
    • SAFE Journal
    • Volume: 9
    • Issue Number: 1
    • Publisher: SAFE Association
    • ISSN: 0191-6319

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00195615
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 29 1979 12:00AM