LED Lighting Research

The advent of light emitting diode (LED) fixtures in the early 2000s prompted numerous studies supporting the transition from incandescent lighting to an entirely new generation of visual cues for pilots and ground vehicle operators.


Since that time, FAA Airport Technology Research & Development (ATR) Branch has conducted numerous research projects to aid in the transition to the use of LED lighting at airports. Brightness, glare, and flickering reports have been addressed and guidelines established to remedy issues.


ATR has also studied the frequency of LED-related incidents, accidents, and safety concerns reported throughout the National Airspace System. To do so, ATR examined the FAA Safety Database over the period of October 1, 2005, through February 2016. During this timeframe, 88,056 safety reports were made. Of these reports, 22 made mention of concerns about LED lighting, excessive brightness of lights, or other similar lighting issues. While the number of reports and incidents issues have been low in number to date, FAA continues to track this issue to ensure safety is maintained going forward.