New approach to compare glare and light characteristics of conventional and balloon lighting systems

Marwa M. Hassan, Ibrahim Odeh, Khaled El-Rayes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increasing needs to adopt nighttime construction strategies in order to avoid disruption of traffic flow, state agencies are currently experimenting with a new class of light towers known as balloon lights. Compared to regular lighting tower, balloon lights have been reported to reduce glare significantly and to provide more uniform lighting conditions at the site. The objective of this study was to measure light and glare characteristics of two balloon lighting systems in the field. Glare and lighting characteristics of this new class of light towers were compared to a conventional lighting system. For this purpose, field measurements were made of the pavement luminance and the horizontal and vertical illuminances on a predefined experimental grid. Results of this study indicated that while being comparable in terms of wattage and luminous flux, the tested balloon light systems differed in terms of light and glare characteristics. In addition, while conventional light tower provided greater illuminance at the light source than balloon lights, the disability glare was greater for conventional light tower than balloon lights when mounted at the same height. Results of this study revealed that optimum conditions should be sought in the work zone, through which adequate lighting conditions are provided for workers while disability glare is kept below a safe threshold for drive-by motorists. Plotting the maximum veiling luminance ratio (disability glare) against the workable distance provides a simple approach to consider the two factors concurrently in the design of work zone lighting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Balloon lighting
  • Disability glare
  • Nighttime construction
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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