Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, receives a 2-year, $890,012 grant to study how headlight glare may increase driver discomfort and diminish visibility.

RPI’s Lighting Research Center scientists will examine the effects of headlight glare and propose solutions to minimize glare that affects the eyesight of oncoming motorists.

“Recent headlamp technologies are presenting new oncoming appearances for drivers, which have resulted in increased complaints of glare” to the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin., says Mark Rea, LRC director.

“The LRC is conducting research to examine the intensity, color and size of oncoming headlamps and determine the effects of these parameters on visibility, as well as impressions of visual discomfort.”

Rea says a driver’s visibility may be diminished by glare without noticeable discomfort. LRC researchers say there are unanswered questions relating to how new lighting technologies affect visibility, glare, driver behavior and safety.

LRC will report its findings to the U.S. Congress as required by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act of 2005. Westat Inc. will administer the LRC grant.

Rensselaer lays claim to being the country’s oldest technological university, and its LRC says it is the nation’s leading university-based lighting research center.