Chapter 1: Introduction

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Section 1: Overview

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Purpose of Manual

The purpose of this manual is to provide procedures, guidelines, and information concerning highway illumination.

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Users of Manual

This manual is intended for use by:

  • planners and designers of highway illumination systems
  • construction and maintenance personnel involved with highway illumination.

Although this manual contains information on electrical circuits, it does not cover the full range of knowledge necessary to design, install, or maintain electrical circuitry.

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The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) offers the Illumination Design training course (DES 103), which is recommended for designers of highway illumination systems.

Texas State Technical College in Waco offers the Basic Maintenance Electrician Course (MNT 100), which is recommended for inspectors and maintenance personnel.

Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers two TxDOT courses recommended for engineers and technicians involved in design, construction, or maintenance of illumination and electrical systems:

  • Electrical Systems Course (TRF 450)
  • Grounding Practices and Applications (TRF 451).
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Personnel with practical electrical experience can provide valuable expertise in the inspection of illumination projects and the maintenance of lighting. Those holding or having recently held an electrical license can help assure conformity with the National Electrical Code and good electrical practices.



The following table lists publications that may serve as additional references for issues related to highway illumination.

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  • Standard Specifications for Construction of Highways, Streets, and Bridges
  • Traffic Operations Standard Plans (also variously referred to as Traffic Control Standard Sheets or Traffic Engineering Standard Plan Sheets). This publication includes:
    • Electrical Details (ED)
    • High Mast Illumination Details (HMID)
    • Roadway Illumination Details (RID).
  • Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devises (TMUTCD)
  • other TxDOT manuals

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Attn.: General Services Division 125 E. 11th Street Austin TX 78701-2483

Phone: 512-465-7326


NOTE: Many TxDOT Manuals (including this one) are published on-line and are freely available at the following websites:

National Electrical Code Handbook

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Batterymarch Park

Quincy MA 92269-9990

Phone: 800-344-3555


  • Standard Specifications for Structural Supports for Highway Signs, Luminaires and Traffic Signals
  • An Informational Guide on Roadway Lighting

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

444 N. Capitol street NW, Suite 225

Washington DC 20001

Phone: 202-624-5800


  • IESNA Lighting Handbook: Reference and Application (HB-9-00)
  • Roadway Lighting (RP-8-00)
  • IESNA Recommended Practices for Tunnel Lighting (RP-22-96)
  • Nomenclature and Definitions for Illuminating Engineering (RP-16-96)
  • other IESNA publications

Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) 120 Wall Street, 17th Floor New York, NY 10005-4001

Phone: 212-248-5000

Fax: 212-248-5017 or 5018


  • Recommendations for the Lighting of Roads for Motor and Pedestrian Traffic (CIE 115-1995) ISBN 3 900 734 59 3
  • Road Lighting Calculations (CIE 140-2000) ISBN 3 901 906 03 7
  • Guidelines for Minimizing Sky Glow (CIE 126-1997) ISBN 3 900 734 83 6
  • Guide for the Lighting of Road Tunnels and Underpasses (CIE 88-1990) ISBN 3900 734 259
  • Other CIE publications

The International Commission on Illumination (CIE) CIE Central Bureau Kegelgasse 27, A-1030 Vienna, Austria



FAA Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1K, “Obstruction Marking and Lighting”

Federal Aviation Administration


FAA Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-2K, “Proposed Construction or Alteration of Objects that may Affect the Navigable Airspace”

Federal Aviation Administration


Title 43, Texas Administrative Code, Section 25.11, “Continuous and Safety Lighting Systems”

Office of the Texas Secretary of State


Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 425, “ Regulation of Certain Outdoor Lighting.”

Texas Legislature


various electrical standards

Underwriter's Laboratories Northbrook Division, Illinois Customer Service 333 Pfingsten Road Northbrook, IL 60062-2096 USA

Phone: 847-407-1395


various electrical standards

NEMA 1300 North 17th Street Suite 1847 Rosslyn, VA 22209

Phone: 703-841-3200

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