Coastal Zone Roadway Turtle Lighting

Erdman Anthony was contracted by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 4, Planning and Environmental Management Office, to develop alternative roadway lighting design standards for coastal roadways and other environmentally sensitive areas in South Florida. This project is also known as the "turtle lighting project" and is intended to minimize the negative impact of roadway/street lighting on sea turtles.

Roadway lighting in coastal areas interferes with the nesting of female turtles and is particularly disastrous for young hatchlings. Disoriented by the lights, they move toward the roadway, instead of moving to the sea, and are killed.

The alternative lighting design standards emphasized the need to minimize the impact of roadway lighting on the sea turtle population without compromising safety. Specific measures recommended for achieving that goal included:

  • lowering the required illumination levels based on the adjacent land use and functional classification of the roadways,

  • limiting the type and intensity (wattage) of luminaires,

  • specifying the light distribution characteristics of the luminaires,

  • reducing the mounting heights for the pole mounted luminaires

  • encouraging use of new technologies and products like the internally illuminated (LED) roadway markers.

The alternative standards were finalized earlier in 2010 for adoption and use by FDOT and others working in coastal areas. 

Project Accolades

  • Project Articles

Project Details


South Florida, FL


Florida Department of Transportation, District 4

Project Contact

Nisar Khan, PE, PTOE
  • Nisar Khan, PE, PTOE
  • 561-753-9723 x 6013
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