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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-133
Date: December 2005
Enhanced Night Visibility, Volume II: Overview of Phase I and Development of Phase II
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This section describes the activities that occurred during the first phase of the Enhanced Night Visibility (ENV) project. The priority for this initial phase was to make significant progress toward the first milestone outlined in the original contract: establishment of performance and design objectives to facilitate the deployment of ultraviolet A (UV–A) headlamps. This phase involved the following tasks:
This volume describes the efforts of researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) (formerly known as the Virginia Tech Center for Transportation Research or VTCTR), the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the University of Iowa to develop the groundwork necessary to support the subsequent research. In the interest of demonstrating this process, the initial approaches, plans, and goals of the researchers are presented as they were established at the time, regardless of their actual outcomes. Much of this volume comes from an unpublished workplan developed in Phase I of this project for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Many of these tasks came to full fruition, some were implemented with minor changes, and some were completely redesigned. Several new tasks were added. The actual outcomes are detailed in ENV Volumes III through XVIII covering Phase II and Phase III of this project.
To achieve the first milestone, establishment of performance and design objectives to facilitate the deployment of ultraviolet (UV–A) headlamps, four research teams were created:
Early in the project, the teams focused on making the final team member selections, clarifying team member roles, and refining the research questions for Phase I.
Two of the major tasks in Phase I of the project were identifying and procuring infrastructure materials and headlamps. As such, the teams worked with lighting and infrastructure manufacturers to develop products for testing. The following paragraphs summarize the results of these efforts.
Infrastructure materials suppliers showed interest in participating in the project. The following suppliers were involved to varying degrees:
The level of participation varied among these organizations from providing the use of equipment and testing facilities to providing certain types of materials for evaluation and testing. The companies that manufactured fluorescent pigments, glass beads, and pavement markings (both paint and thermoplastic material) were interested in having their products evaluated. These same companies expressed a willingness to join the project team to refine their products, if necessary, for the planned deployment phase of the project.
The companies that manufacture sign sheetings were more reluctant to invest significant research and development funding until the UV–A and fluorescent technology proved itself more and a market for such technology developed.
Research and development of UV–A (the "A" stands for the portion of the UV band from 315 to 400 nanometers (nm)) and fluorescent technology began in Sweden in the late 1980s. European companies have largely abandoned production and testing of the technology because of a perceived lack of market size in Europe. During the first year of the ENV project, the research team made considerable effort to locate headlamps and other necessary products for testing. Although this work was difficult, several avenues appeared promising. The team proposed that the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) participate in the project and contribute financial support to leverage project and other funds aimed at accelerating headlamp development. In addition, Labino AB, a European lighting manufacturer, appeared willing and able to supply the project with all of the UV–A headlamps necessary for the testing and demonstration activities.
Part of Phase I determined the current state of knowledge of UV–A and fluorescent technology. The results revealed a need to conduct analytical and empirical research to better understand this technology. By filling the gaps in the state of knowledge at that time, the research team hoped to establish achievable performance and design objectives as well as quantitative and comprehensive analyses of the benefits and costs associated with UV–A and fluorescent technology. The research team also hoped that such an effort eventually would culminate in a demonstration of the technology and lead to full-scale implementation. To effectively undertake this effort, the research team developed five activity areas to establish UV–A and fluorescent technology design and performance objectives and provide a catalyst for eventual deployment:
In each activity area, the research team identified a number of performance and design issues to resolve before the potential wide-scale deployment of UV–A technologies. Table 1 lists these primary issues and identifies which activity areas were to address them. The following sections describe Phase II activity areas and specific performance and design objectives as well as the plans for conducting these analyses and studies.
Topics: research, safety
Keywords: research, safety, Age, Detection, Halogen, Headlamp, High Intensity Discharge (HID), Infrared, Pedestrian, Night Vision, Nighttime, Recognition, Stakeholder, Ultraviolet, Visibility, Vision Enhancement System
TRT Terms: research, safety, Automobiles--Lighting--Evaluation, Automobile driving at night, Optoelectronics--Evaluation, Ultraviolet radiation, Night visibility, Headlamps