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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-99-074

A Safety Evaluation of UVA Vehicle Headlights

Contract No. DTFH61-95-C-00093

Prepared by:

Marsha Nitzburg

Rita Seifert

Richard Knoblauch

Dan Turner

Center for Applied Research, Inc.

10213 Forest Lake Drive

Great Falls, VA 22066

Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center

6300 Georgetown Pike

McLean, VA 22101-2296

NOTICE

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The United States Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-RD-99-079

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

A SAFETY EVALUATION OF UVA VEHICLE HEADLIGHTS

5. Report Date
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

M. Nitzburg, R. Seifert, R. Knoblauch, D. Turner

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Center for Applied Research, Inc.
10213 Forest Lake Drive
Great Falls, VA 22066-3608

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

3AI2

11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-95-C-00093

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety Research, Development, and Technology
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report October 1, 1995 - December 31, 1998

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Dan Turner, HRDS
The Cost/Benefit Analysis was conducted by Dr. Ted Miller and Diane Lestina of National Public Services Research Institute.

16. Abstract

The objective of this report was to determine if driver performance can be improved through the use of fluorescent roadway delineation and auxiliary ultraviolet (UVA) vehicle headlights. Additionally, cost/benefit analyses were to be conducted to determine if UVA fluorescent technology may be an economical means of increasing highway safety.

The literature review found several Swedish studies indicating sizeable increases (approximately 200%) in visibility distances for fluorescent roadway markings. Also, the literature review found no evidence of potentially harmful effects from the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the UVA headlight systems.

An extensive field study was conducted to determine the effects of UVA/fluorescent technology on visibility distances and driver behavior. Using an instrumented vehicle, no differences were found in vehicle speed, lateral placement, throttle position, steering wheel reversals, or brake applications. However, there were sizeable (up to 50%) improvements in the detection and recognition distances of a variety of roadway delineations. Even larger (300%) increases in detection distances of fluorescent objects, such as a bicycle and traffic cones, were found. Drivers' subjective ratings of UVA/fluorescent technology were very favorable.

The cost/benefit analysis indicated that very favorable cost/benefit ratios were associated with relatively modest reductions in relevant nighttime crashes and pedestrian crashes.

17. Key Words

Vehicle Headlights, Ultraviolet Lighting, Fluorescent Roadway Delineation, Pedestrian Safety

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public
through the National Technical Information Service,
Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages


59

22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7

Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Literature Review

Field Study

Cost/Benefit Analysis

References

List of Figures

List of Tables

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United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration