The dark adaptation of drivers’ eyes at a tunnel entrance seriously affects traffic safety. This can be improved by the design of tunnel lighting. Light-Emitting Diode (LEDs) have been applied as a new type of luminaire in tunnel lighting in recent years, but at present, there are few studies on the influence of color rendering of LEDs on tunnel traffic safety, and there is no explicit indicator for the selection of appropriate color rendering parameters in tunnel lighting specifications, which has aroused researchers’ concern. In this article, several new color rendering evaluation indexes were compared, and as a result, it is considered that CRI2012 (a color difference-based color rendering index) is more suitable for evaluating the color rendering of LEDs used at tunnel entrances. The dark adaptation phenomenon was simulated in the laboratory. Four CRI2012s, three color temperatures and eight colored targets were used in the experiments. The results showed that yellow, silver and white can provide shorter reaction times, while red and brown lead to longer reaction times, which can provide a reference for the design of road and warning signs at tunnel entrances. The effect of target color on reaction time was greater than that of color rendering. Under most target colors, the higher the CRI2012, the shorter the reaction time. When designing the color rendering of the LEDs at a tunnel entrance, the value should thus be as large as possible (close to 100), and a lower color temperature value (about 2800 K) should be selected. This paper provides technical support for tunnel lighting design and a reference for tunnel lighting specifications, which is of significance to improve driving safety and avoid traffic accidents in highway tunnels.
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