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25Â Â This chapter discusses the balance between the economic costs of installing and operating lighting at isolated rural intersections and the benefits that can be achieved in terms of safety and the resulting reductions in injuries, fatalities, and property damage associated with crashes. Costs of Isolated Rural Intersection Lighting Some news reports, research publications, and government agency policies and guidelines have discussed the costs of installing and operating lighting at isolated rural intersections. Often the installation of lighting was part of a larger project related to highway safety or road construc- tion or repair, and it is not always possible to determine what proportion of a projectâs cost was allocated to rural intersection lighting. TableÂ 3 summarizes information about the cost and extent of several projects involving isolated rural intersection lighting. Entries marked âN/Aâ occur when the report or account did not provide enough detail to break down specific costs. Although some details are missing about the costs of projects listed in TableÂ 3, sufficient details are available to suggest that the installation of a single luminaire and pole at a rural intersection has an average cost of approximately $4,000 to $5,000 (ranging between $2,500 and $8,000) and that an estimate of $200 to $300 per year for operating and maintenance costs is not unreason- able. When a cost of $10,000 to $15,000 for installation of lighting at a single intersection is esti- mated for some projects in TableÂ 3, the number of luminaires at each intersection is not specified, C H A P T E R 6 Economics Chapter Summary â¢ Costs for installing isolated rural intersection lighting can range from $4,000 to $15,000 per intersection, depending upon the number of poles/luminaires to be installed at each intersection. Installing a single luminaire at an intersection costs between $4,000 and $5,000. â¢ Annual costs to operate and maintain rural intersection lighting are between $100 and $300 per location on average. â¢ Funding to install rural intersection lighting comes largely from state and fed- eral sources; local funds are used especially when lighting is installed at the request of the locality. â¢ Many agencies lack good economic data on the value of reduced crashes from isolated rural intersection lighting.
26 Lighting Practices for Isolated Rural Intersections Project Total Project Cost Cost of Lighting Installation Annual Operating Cost Lighting at 47 rural intersections (Oregon DOT 2012) $700,000 (number of luminaires not specified) $700,000 (number of luminaires not specified) N/A Safety lighting at the intersection (U.S. Official News 2017) $263,586 (number of luminaires not specified) $263,586 (number of luminaires not specified) N/A Installation of 1 light at rural intersection (Edwards 2015) $4,200/light $4,200/light $82/light for maintenance and energy Installation of lighting at 15 rural intersections (Leipholtz 2017) $95,335 (number of luminaires not specified) $95,335 (number of luminaires not specified) N/A Installation of 1 luminaire at rural intersection (Torbic et al. 2015) $8,000/light $8,000/light $300/light energy cost Installation of poles and lighting at 8 rural intersections (Rochester Post-Bulletin 2010) $104,661 (number of luminaires not specified) $104,661 (number of luminaires not specified) N/A Installation of lighting at one intersection (Transport Canada 2006) Between $10,000 and $250,000 (number of luminaires not specified) Between $10,000 and $250,000 (number of luminaires not specified) N/A Installation of 22 lights at rural intersections (Burkhalter 2016) $21,620 (environmental soil testing only) N/A N/A Rural intersection lighting and curb work, resurfacing, left-turn lanes, rumble strips, and re- striping (Worthington Daily Globe 2009) $5.3 million (number of luminaires not specified) N/A N/A Installation of lighting at 16 rural intersections (U.S. Official News 2012) $180,000 (number of luminaires not specified) $180,000 (number of luminaires not specified) N/A Intersection lighting, turn lanes, signage (Sand 2018) $1.5 million (number of luminaires not specified) N/A N/A Installation of lighting at 12 intersections (Buntjer 2018) $180,000 (number of luminaires not specified) $180,000 (number of luminaires not specified) $350/light utility cost Installation of lighting at one intersection (St. Maryâs County [MD] 2020) $2,500-$4,000/light $2,500-$4,000/light $240/light electricity cost Installation of lighting at 8 rural intersections (TendersInfo 2010) $104,661 (number of luminaires not specified) $104,661 N/A Install intersection lighting, reroute highway, stabilize slopes, install guardrails and turn pockets (Yakima Herald- Republic 2012) $9.3 million (number of luminaires not specified) N/A N/A Installation of 1 light at rural intersection (Bullough and Rea 2011) $4,620/light $4,620/light $233/light energy and maintenance Table 3. Summary of Rural Intersection Lighting Projects and Costs.
Economics 27Â Â and these costs could include the installation of more than one light at each intersection or costs to bring electrical power to the intersection. A question about where state DOTs obtained funding to install isolated rural intersection lighting was included in the survey and the responses are given in FigureÂ 22. State funds made up the most common answer (95%), followed by federal (83%) and local (64%) funds. âOtherâ responses (10%) referred to joint state/federal funding or specific federal program funds such as the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). Only a few reports from the literature review identified the specific sources of funding for projects to install isolated rural intersection lighting. Leipholtz (2017) reported that 90% of the cost to illuminate 15 rural intersections came from HSIP funds, with the remaining 10% coming from the county or state. As mentioned previously, if a particular intersection was going to be illuminated at the request of a local municipality, state (e.g., Nebraska 2006), or county (Wright County [MN] 2002) agencies might require that municipality to pay to install and/or maintain the lighting system. Economic Analysis of Rural Intersection Lighting Understanding the costs of installing and operating isolated rural intersection lighting is one component of elucidating the entire economic picture, but it is also important to be able to quantify, in terms of dollars, the safety benefits so that public investment in lighting these loca- tions can be justified. Survey participants were asked questions about whether and how they went about performing any economic analyses for rural intersection lighting before installing (FigureÂ 23). Of the respon- dents, 37% of agencies reported never conducting an economic analysis, and another 29% reported performing one only rarely. Only 12% performed an economic analysis for rural intersections often. Given that one of the challenges of performing an economic analysis for roadway lighting is determining the economic value of improved safety, another question asked survey participants whether they attempt to determine the economic value of reduced crashes related to isolated rural intersection lighting (FigureÂ 24). Less than 40% of respondents (16 total) stated that they did so. A similar percentage (45%, 19 respondents) reported using the economic value of reduced nighttime crashes from rural intersection lighting in an economic analysis (FigureÂ 25). Based on FiguresÂ 24 and 25, more than one-half of state DOTs responding to the survey do not appear to have reliable information about the economic value of reduced nighttime crashes Figure 22. Responses to âWhat source(s) of funding has your agency used to install isolated rural intersection lighting?â
28 Lighting Practices for Isolated Rural Intersections Figure 23. Responses to âHow often does your agency perform an economic analysis before installing isolated rural intersection lighting?â Figure 24. Responses to âDoes your agency attempt to determine the economic value of reduced crashes or other benefits of isolated rural intersection lighting?â Figure 25. Responses to âDoes your agency consider the economic value of crash reductions in any benefit/cost or life cycle cost analyses?â
Economics 29Â Â from rural intersection lighting with which to make informed economic benefit/cost analyses. Indeed, when asked how often rural intersections could be reliably determined to have an overall net economic benefit (FigureÂ 26), only 28 survey respondents provided an answer to this question. Of those who did, 46% said âsometimes,â âoften,â or âalways,â while the remaining 54% responded either âneverâ or ârarely.â This response seems to contradict the findings from the literature review (see ChapterÂ 4, Impacts), which indicated that isolated rural intersection lighting was generally beneficial with a benefit/cost ratio greater than 1. Most of the literature review sources were analyzing the overall effects of lighting on a statewide or regionwide basis, rather than for a single or a small number of installations in a local area. Figure 26. Responses to âIf assessed by your agency, how often does isolated rural intersection lighting achieve a net benefit compared to its costs?â