This paper investigates and compares the photometric performance and lifetime cost effectiveness of LED and existing conventional luminaires (high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH)). Photometric measurements of the lamps and the luminaires were performed at Yildiz Technical University Lighting Laboratory in Turkey. The performance requirements of the luminaires were analysed according to CIE (International Commission on Illumination) standards. In the simulations, HPS, MH and LED luminaires that provide good lighting criteria for designing M1 and M2 road models were compared in terms of a cost analysis. The life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) method, which comprises installation, energy and maintenance costs, was used in this study. The results of the LCCA showed that LED luminaires have almost the same cost effectiveness as HPS luminaires for the M2 road lighting class, and the total cost of LED luminaires is approximately 11.5 % less than that of HPS luminaires for the M1 lighting class.