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Parking Lot Lighting Design Calculator

What is a Parking Lot Lighting Design Calculator?

A Parking Lot Lighting Plan or Lighting Design Calculator is a Photometric Lighting Analysis that addresses the lighting for a given outdoor parking lot. It typically shows either the actual overhead view of the parking lot or an architectural view of a proposed parking lot.

The lot details pole positions. Its at these pole locations a lighting engineer inserts the photometric details of different outdoor fixtures to design and calculate a parking lot plan.

The software calculates light levels and provides a comprehensive visual layout report. The report displays calculation points representing the foot candle reading at defined locations.

Parking Lot Lighting Plan

Parking Lot Optics and Why they Matter

Special parking lot optics were created to deal with different needs that might arise. These patterns were established well before LED lighting was used. Choosing the right optic may make the difference between a well lit lot and one that is poorly lit. 

LED Area Light Distribution

Type 3 or Type 5 are the most common distribution types.

Type III Area Lighting Distribution

Type III distribution for general roadway lighting applications and parking areas. Its throw is taller than Type II but its side to side throw is shorter. For roadways, the width of the road should not be greater than 2.75 time the mounting height.

Type IV Area Lighting Distribution

Type IV distribution produces a semi-circular light. It’s best for illuminating the perimeter of parking areas. Its projects further out front than Type III but its side to side throw is shorter than Type III. For roadways, the width of the road should not be greater than 3.75 times the mounting height.

Type V Area Lighting Distribution

Type V produces circular distribution that has equal light distribution at all positions. This distribution has a circular symmetry of foot candles. It is great for parking areas or flooding large areas of light in front of the fixture. It is one of the most common distribution types available today.

Want a Free Parking Lot Lighting Plan?

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Parking Lot Lighting Plan – Target 10 foot candles


This parking area is 200 ft X 238 ft. Poles are 30 ft high. To achiece an overall average of 10 foot candles, we used 10 140W Shoebox Fixtures with Type 3 optics and 8 300W Shoebox fixtures with Type 5 optics.

Parking Lot Lighting Plan

Fixture Used

140W LED Shoebox – T3  (10 fixtures)

Fixture Used

300W LED Shoebox Fixture (8 fixtures)

Parking Lot Lighting Calculator

The Lighting Center does not offer an online parking lot lighting calculator. The reason is that almost all online parking lot lighting calculators will simply calculate the number of fixtures needed for a space. It does not show foot candles or how evenly distributed the light is.

In the above example, optics make all the difference between a successful conversion and a bad one. Online Lighting Calculators will now show you this. It gives the impression that all you need to do is buy X fixtures and your lighting conversion will be successful. Wrong!

So instead we offer a free parking lot lighting plan instead. We want you to be happy with the results.

What is a Parking Lot Photometric Plan? We provide real examples of effective parking lot lighting plans and a way to ask us to do a free parking lot lighting plan for you.
Last Updated: 09/30/2020

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