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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-134
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume III: Phase II—Study 1: Visual Performance During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather

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APPENDIX F—IN-VEHICLE EXPERIMENTAL PROTOCOL

 

IN-VEHICLE PROTOCOL FOR NIGHT 1 AND 2


Night 1
  1. Greet participant.

  2. Record the time of their arrival on the debriefing sheet.

  3. Orient them to the vehicle.
    • Take participant to the vehicle parked outside the front door.
    • Check which vehicle they will do their first VES in and have them drive that vehicle if it is available.
    • Show them how to adjust their seat, lights and the steering wheel. Say:
      You will notice that your side and rearview mirrors have been covered. This is to reduce glare that you might get from other vehicles.

  4. Instruct the driver to drive to the Smart Road.
    • Have them stop before the gate in the right lane.
    • Radio the control room, ask for the gate to be opened and tell them the number of cars entering the road.

  5. Proceed to the parking spots at the top of the first turnaround.
    • The first vehicle will always park on the left side of the road at the cone.
    • The second vehicle will always park on the right side of the road at the cone.

  6. Review instructions with participant (This may be done while driving down the road or while parked at the first turn around.).

    • **Show them the button**
    • Read the following instructions

      I will need you to hold this in your hand during the study. When you press this you will hear a beep.

      Once the study begins I need you to press the button as soon as you detect an object.

      Detection is when you can just tell that something is on the road in front of you. You cannot tell what the object is but you know something is there.

      When you can accurately recognize an object, I would like you to press the button again and identify the object verbally at the same time.

      Recognition is when you not only know something is there but you also know what it is.

      You will need to be specific when you recognize. If you see an object, you will need to tell me what the object is.

      For example,

      “I see a Person”

      “I see a Cyclist”

      “I see a Kids Bike”

      “I see a Tire Tread”

      If you perform an Unsuccessful Recognition, you can press the push button again and then verbally recognize the object.

    • **Hand them the button**

  7. Radio the onroad experimenters that you are ready to begin.

  8. Orient participant to Smart Road.

    First we will drive down the road to get you used to the road and the vehicle. Go ahead and drive down the road at 25 miles per hour.

    • Allow the participant to drive down the road.
    • The second vehicle can begin once the first vehicle is out of sight.
    • Remind them of the speed limit if necessary.

    First vehicle at the bottom of the hill

    • pull all the way to the first parking space
    • put the vehicle in park and have the participant take their foot off the brake

    Second vehicle at the bottom of the hill

    • pull into the second parking space
    • put the vehicle in park and have the participant take their foot off the brake.

  9. Let drivers do a practice run up the Smart Road.

    We will now practice while you drive up the hill to help you get used to driving the vehicle on the Smart Road and using the push buttons. I would like you to drive up the road at 25 miles per hour.

    • Remind the participant how to recognize the different objects.

      On the way up we will practice how to detect and recognize objects. You will see three different objects. Please remember to say:

      “I see a Kids Bike”

      “I see a Pedestrian”

      “I see a Tire Tread”

      If you perform an Unsuccessful Recognition, you can press the push button again and then verbally recognize the object.

  10. Set up the computer at the second turn around if you haven’t already done so.

    • Enter in Participant Information (ID, Age, Gender).
    • Enter Current Setup Information.(VES, Object Order, Night 1, 2, or 3)
    • Start the computer program:
    • Check that the computer program is reading the correct “CALIBRATION VALUE”:
      Sedan 1318
      Black SUV 660
      White SUV 660
      Pickup 46
    • Start the data collection when you are parallel with the guardrail at the bottom turn around:
    • Note that there is a space at the bottom of the screen for error messages. Check to make sure that you are not receiving any error messages.

  11. Document any unexpected events that occurred during the previous run.
    • See “Documentation Instructions.”

  12. Prepare for the first VES.
    • Make sure you are in the correct vehicle, using your VES order.
    • Select the proper VES and Order on the computer using the commands listed in step 10.
    • Let the valet check the headlamps.
    • Wait for the OK from the onroad experimenters.
    • Continue down the road.

  13. Start data collection for first VES when you are parallel with the “Do Not Enter” Sign.

  14. Monitor the safety of the cyclists on the road.
    • Use the computer program to determine when you are approaching a cyclist.
    • Say “Station X, Clear” as soon as the participant identifies the cyclist.
    • If driver does not see cyclist, use the computer DMI read out the determine when the vehicle is withing 200 feet of cyclist. Tell the cyclist to clear at that time.

  15. Continue the same procedure for the rest of the VES.

  16. Bring participants back to the building.
    • Have both participants and both experimenters get in the Sedan.
    • One experimenter will drive all four back to the building.

      Document time on participant’s debriefing sheet.

  17. Remind participants of their next scheduled drive.
Night 2

Protocol is very similar to Night 1.

  • Follow Steps 1 through 7.
  • Skip the orientation run.
  • Skip the practice run.
  • Set up the computer at the top of the road at first turn around.
  • Wait for Onroad to Radio that they are ready.
  • Collect data using the protocol from Night 1.
  • Take drivers back to the building in the Sedan.
  • Complete the hours/amount paid section of the debriefing form.
  • Ask drivers to fill out the payment receipt log.
  • Pay the driver, and thank him/her for his/her participation.

 

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