Chapter 3: Master Lighting Plans

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Section 1: Overview

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The commitment to lighting roadway facilities is an immense responsibility. Part of the responsibility includes complying with Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 425, “ Regulation of Certain Outdoor Lighting.” Among other things, this law requires that, for outdoor lighting installed, replaced, maintained, or operated using state funds, full consideration be given to energy conservation, reducing glare, minimizing light pollution, and preserving the natural night environment. Energy conservation includes reducing overall energy costs and resources used and may involve the use of lower wattage lights and timer switches. The full text of the law is available on the Internet at

A master lighting plan can help in the fulfillment of this responsibility. District lighting engineers should work with municipalities and other concerned entities to develop master lighting plans.

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A master lighting plan is a formal written arrangement between local governments and other entities within a municipal area to coordinate and standardize the design, operation, and maintenance of public lighting. Master lighting plans typically include lighting curfews and sophisticated monitoring systems (described in Lighting Curfews, and Electrical and Lighting Management Systems, respectively).

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The basic benefits of lighting include safety, beautification, and security for people and property. Additional benefits derived from a master lighting plan include:

  • improved safety through the maximizing of resources
  • a consistent image, reflecting the local culture and tastes
  • nighttime linking of various sections of the city
  • systems that better identify the nature of the site (residential versus “restaurant row” for example)
  • better management of energy use
  • tighter control of sky glow and light trespass
  • aid in implementing lighting curfews
  • increased public security (other concerns may warrant immediate turning on or off)
  • coordinated maintenance
  • easier coordination of maintenance specifications, such as poles, breakaway devices, and luminaires.
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