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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-132
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility, Volume I: Executive Summary

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U.S. Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

Research, Development, and Technology

Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

6300 Georgetown Pike

McLean, VA 22101-2296


FOREWORD

The overall goal of the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Visibility Research Program is to enhance the safety of road users through near-term improvements of the visibility on and along the roadway. The program also promotes the advancement of new practices and technologies to improve visibility on a cost-effective basis.

The following document summarizes the results of a series of studies conducted under the Enhanced Night Visibility (ENV) project. The ENV project provided a comprehensive evaluation of evolving and proposed headlamp technologies in various weather conditions. The individual studies within the overall project are documented in an 18-volume series of FHWA reports, of which this is Volume I. It is anticipated that the reader will select those volumes that provide information of specific interest.

This report will be of interest to headlamp designers, automobile manufacturers and consumers, third-party headlamp manufacturers, human factors engineers, and people involved in headlamp and roadway specifications.

 

 

Michael F. Trentacoste
Director, Office of Safety
    Research and Development

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
FHWA-HRT-04-132

2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle
Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume I: Executive Summary

5. Report Date
December 2005

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)
Jonathan M. Hankey, Myra Blanco, Ronald B. Gibbons, Shane B. McLaughlin, and Thomas A. Dingus

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, VA 24061

10. Work Unit No.

11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH61-98-C-00049

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Safety Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13.Type of Report and Period Covered
Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code
HRDS-05

15. Supplementary Notes
Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Carl Andersen, HRDS-05

16. Abstract
This volume, an executive summary of the Enhanced Night Visibility project, is the first of 18 volumes that report on the project's evaluation of the merit of implementing supplemental ultraviolet headlamps, supplemental infrared systems, and other vision enhancement systems (VESs) to enhance drivers' nighttime roadway safety. The entire project evaluated 18 VESs in terms of their ability to provide object detection and recognition. Objects included scenarios with pedestrians standing or walking in different locations on the roadway. Pedestrians were dressed in black, white, or blue clothing to produce varying levels of contrast with their surroundings. Detection and recognition testing took place in clear weather, rain, snow, and fog conditions. Project research also evaluated a subset of the VESs for their effect on drivers' disability and discomfort glare. The VESs were also tested for their value in facilitating drivers' detection of pavement markings and other traffic control devices. The results indicated that supplemental ultraviolet headlamps do not provide sufficient benefit to justify further testing; however, supplemental infrared vision enhancement systems do offer an improvement over headlamps alone for detection of pedestrians. Near infrared systems have the potential to provide an added benefit in detecting pedestrians in inclement weather, but the implementation of NIR technology is the key to achieving this benefit.

17. Key Words
Age, Cyclist, Detection, Fog, Halogen, Headlamp, High Intensity Discharge (HID), Infrared, Night Vision, Nighttime, Pavement Markings, Pedestrian, Rain, Recognition, Snow, Traffic Control Devices, Ultraviolet, Vision Enhancement System, Weather

18. Distribution Statement
No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service; Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)
Unclassified

20. Security Classif. (of this page)
Unclassified

21. No. of Pages
27

22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)          Reproduction of completed page authorized.


SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


ENHANCED NIGHT VISIBILITY PROJECT REPORT SERIES

This volume is the first of 18 volumes in this research report series. Each volume is a different study or summary, and any reference to a report volume in this series will be referenced in the text as "ENV Volume I," "ENV Volume II," and so forth. A list of the report volumes follows:

Volume Title Report Number
  I           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Executive Summary FHWA-HRT-04-132
  II           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Overview of Phase I and
Development of Phase II Experimental Plan
FHWA-HRT-04-133
  III           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 1: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-134
  IV           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 2: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Rain
FHWA-HRT-04-135
  V           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 3: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Snow
FHWA-HRT-04-136
  VI           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 4: Visual
Performance During Nighttime Driving in Fog
FHWA-HRT-04-137
  VII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 5: Evaluation of
Discomfort Glare During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-138
  VIII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Study 6: Detection of
Pavement Markings During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-139
  IX           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Characterization of
Experimental Objects
FHWA-HRT-04-140
  X           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Visual Performance
Simulation Software for Objects and Traffic Control Devices
FHWA-HRT-04-141
  XI           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase II—Cost-Benefit Analysis FHWA-HRT-04-142
  XII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Overview of Phase II and
Development of Phase III Experimental Plan
FHWA-HRT-04-143
  XIII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Study 1: Comparison
of Near Infrared, Far Infrared, High Intensity Discharge, and Halogen Headlamps on Object Detection in Nighttime Clear Weather
FHWA-HRT-04-144
  XIV           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Study 2: Comparison
of Near Infrared, Far Infrared, and Halogen Headlamps on Object Detection in Nighttime Rain
FHWA-HRT-04-145
  XV           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Study 3: Influence of
Beam Characteristics on Discomfort and Disability Glare
FHWA-HRT-04-146
  XVI           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phase III—Characterization of
Experimental Objects
FHWA-HRT-04-147
  XVII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Phases II and III—
Characterization of Experimental Vision Enhancement Systems
FHWA-HRT-04-148
  XVIII           Enhanced Night Visibility Series: Overview of Phase III FHWA-HRT-04-149

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1—INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2—PHASE I PLANNING

CHAPTER 3—PHASES II AND III VISUAL PERFORMANCE STUDIES CHAPTER 4—PHASES II AND III GLARE STUDIES CHAPTER 5—PAVEMENT MARKINGS

CHAPTER 6—CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES


LIST OF ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

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