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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-139
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume VIII: Phase II—Study 6: Detection of Pavement Markings During Nighttime Driving in Clear Weather

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APPENDIX D—IN-VEHICLE EXPERIMENTER PROTOCOL

 

Protocol for Enhanced Night Visibility Pavement Markings- In-Vehicle Experimenters

Session One

  • Prior to the participant's arrival, make sure that all the needed forms are available and label them with the subject number.
  • Greet Participant
  • Record the time that the participant arrived on the debriefing form
  • Show driver's license.

Before we begin, it is required for me to verify that you have a driver's license. Would you please show me your license?

Must be a valid Class A driver's license to proceed with the study. Out of state is fine.

Experimenter read text in italics out loud:

This research is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration. The purpose is to gather information that will be available to the public, including car manufacturers. The goal is to determine the best vision enhancement systems to help drivers see pavement markings at night. The lights need to also be safe and not cause any discomfort for other drivers on the road.

The study will take place on the Smart Road testing facility. The road will be closed off to all traffic except for experimental vehicles. There will be at most four experimental vehicles on the road at one time including the vehicle you will be in.

During the experiment, I will be in the vehicle with you at all times. I will be responsible for asking you questions during the drive, recording some data, and monitoring the equipment. In addition, I will be able to answer any questions you have during the drive.

You will be exposed to eleven different vision enhancement systems. You will make one lap on the Smart Road for each vision enhancement system. You will be exposed to different pavement markings with each VES. Your job will be to tell the experimenter when you detect the first and the last pavement marking in each section.

Do you have any questions at this time? (Answer questions if needed).

Informed consent

Now I have some paperwork for you to fill out. This first form tells you about the study, what your job is, and any safety risks involved in the study. Please read through the document. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. If not, please sign and date the paper on the last page.

  • Give the participant the form
  • Answer questions
  • Have participant sign and date both forms
  • Give the participant a copy of the informed consent

Tax forms.

To complete the W-9, the participant must fill out the following in the box:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Tax ID number (social security number)
  • Sign and date at the bottom

The other side of the form is a University Voucher stating they are not being "permanently" employed by our project. Have them print their name on the top of the form.

Vision tests.

Follow me and I will go through the vision tests with you.

The results for all three parts must be recorded on the Vision Test Form.

The first test is the Snellen eye chart test.

  • Take the participant over to the eye chart test area.
  • Line up their toes to the line on the floor (20 feet).
  • Participants can leave on their glasses if they wear them for driving.
    Procedure: Look at the wall and read aloud the smallest line you can comfortably read.
    • If the participant gets every letter on the first line they try correct have them try the next smaller line. Continue until they miss a letter. At that time, record the one that they were able to read in full (line above).
    • If they get the first line they attempt incorrect, have them read the previous line. Repeat as needed until they get one line completely correct. Record this acuity.
    • Participant must have 20/40 or better vision using both eyes to participate in the study.

      The next vision test is the Contrast Sensitivity test. Take the participant over to the eye chart test area.

    • Line up their toes to the line on the floor (10 feet).
    • Participants can leave on their glasses if they wear them for driving.

      Procedure: We are going to test how well you see bars at different levels of contrast. Your ability to see these bars relates to how well you see everyday objects. It is VERY IMPORTANT you do not squint or lean forward while you are taking the test.

    • Point out the sample patches at the bottom of the chart with the three possible responses (left, right, or straight).
    • Cover one eye with an occluder. (DO NOT let the participant use his/her hand to cover the eye since pressure on the eye may cause erroneous contrast sensitivity test results).
    • Instruct the participant to begin with Row A and look across from left to right. Ask the participant to identify the last patch in which lines can be seen and tell you which direction they tilt. If the response is incorrect, have the participant describe the preceding patch.
    • Use the table in the ENV binder to determine if subjects' answers are correct.
    • Each vertical column of numbers on the second part of the Vision Test form corresponds to a horizontal row on the chart. Record the last patch the participant correctly identifies in each row by marking the corresponding dot on the form.
    • To form the participant's contrast sensitivity curve, connect the points marked.
    • Cover the other eye and repeat all the steps above.

      The last vision test is the Test for Color Blindness.

      Procedure:
    • Take the participant back to his/her desk.
    • Place the book containing the plates on the testing apparatus

      Please hold the red end of this handle to your nose and read the number on the following plates.

    • Record the participants answers on the Vision Tests Form

Go to Turnaround 1 on the road

Take the participant to the rental vehicle and instruct them to drive to the road.

Radio the onroad experimenters that you are ready to begin.

We will ask you to drive four different vehicles. Once the vehicles arrive, you will meet the valet, who will escort you to your next vehicle. You will drive the vehicle down the road at a comfortable speed. Then you will drive up the road at 25 mph. You will need to indicate when you see the first and the last pavement markings in each section. By pavement markings I am referring to the lines down the middle of the road. We have three sections of pavement markings. Each section has a different type of paint, so some may or may not be more visible than other sections. You will press this button (show the button) when you see both the first and the last marking in each section. The sections are separated by segments of black tape. With the tape, the sections look like this.

Show the participant the drawing of the pavement markings. Point out the pavement tape.

Do you have any questions?

The on road experimenter will escort the participants to their first vehicle. In the mean time, you will get into the appropriate vehicle and set up the computer by entering in the participant information and current setup.

Wait while the on road experimenter performs the participant eye height measurement. This will occur once the participant has adjusted the seat to his/her satisfaction. The measurements only occur when the participant is in a vehicle for the first time. Once the on road experimenter is finished, make sure they check the vehicle lights for you. In addition, if you are in the Sedan you will need to adjust the fan down as soon as the vehicle is started. For the practice lap, you will scroll to "Practice" VES in the VES field. When the on road experimenter has completed the measurements, instruct the driver on the following:

Practice Lap

We will now have a practice lap to help you get used to driving the vehicle on the Smart Road and using the push buttons. I would like you to drive down the road at a comfortable speed.

Point out the location of the pavement dip cones.

First vehicle at the bottom of the hill
  • Pull all the way to the first parking space
  • Put the vehicle in park
  • Ask participants to close their eyes until the 2nd vehicle is parked

Second vehicle at the bottom of the hill

  • Pull into the second parking space
  • Put the vehicle in park
  • Ask participants to close their eyes until the 1st vehicle is up the hill
  • Once stopped, explain the protocol again.

As I explained before, we have three sections of pavement markings. I need you to indicate when you see the first and the last middle line in each section. You will indicate when you see the markings by pressing this button (hand them the button). When you press the button you will hear a beep. So, you will hit the button a total of six times, two times in each section. The first pavement marking section begins as soon as you pull onto the road so you will need to start looking right away. You will need to maintain a speed of 25 miles-per-hour. We are going to drive up the road and practice. Do you have any questions?

  • Answer questions.
  • Start the computer as follows:
Command Function
RUN/HOLD (DMI) Starts the DMI counting
Shift S Starts data collection

*Note that there is space at the bottom of the screen for error messages. Check to make sure that you are not receiving any error messages.

While going up the hill, you need to monitor the following on the computer:

  • Screen will read "Looking for object"
  • After they press button the first time, screen will say "Recognizing Object"
  • After they press button the second time, screen will say "Done"

Press the computer space bar again when your body is in line with the last pavement marking. After space bar is pressed, screen will say "Set-up"

During the practice lap, you may need to assist the participant. For example, if they do not indicate the first pavement marking and the marking has passed, you need to say, "Did you see the first marking back there? As soon as you see that, you need to hit the button. You will also be pressing it soon when you see the last one in this section."

In addition, you will need to point out the pavement dip cones and explain:

See the white cones there. Those cones represent indentations in the pavement. We put those cones there so you do not mistake those areas for the end of the pavement markings. So, when you see the white cones, you know the end of the pavement markings are not there.

First vehicle at the top of the hill
  • Pull up to white line just before the top of hill
  • Wait for headlight glow from 2nd vehicle to appear
  • Continue back down the road at comfortable speed
Second vehicle at the top of the hill
  • Pull up to first cone on the right side of the road
  • Put vehicle in park
  • Turn off lights
  • Turn lights back on and go down the hill when the first vehicle is out of sight
First vehicle at the bottom of the hill
  • Pull all the way to the first parking space
  • Put the vehicle in park
  • Ask participants to close their eyes until the 2nd vehicle is parked
  • Change VES field to appropriate condition (Shift + H)
Second vehicle at the bottom of the hill
  • Pull into the second parking space
  • Put the vehicle in park
  • Ask participants to close their eyes until the 1st vehicle is up the hill
  • Change VES field to appropriate condition (Shift + H)

Data Collection

I would like you to do the same as before by indicating when you see the first and the last pavement marking in each section. You will push the button a total of six times. I need you to drive at 25 miles-per-hour again. Remember to begin looking as soon as you pull onto the road for the first section of markings. Any questions?

This will repeat for all five or six vision enhancement systems. When the valets move the participants between vehicles, you will need to:

  • Quit the computer program, using SHIFT Q
  • Start the computer program in the new vehicle
  • Enter the participant and current set-up information

Also be alert to the fact that some of the vehicles have automatic locking doors that do not unlock until the vehicle is shut off. In that situation you need to unlock the doors to let the valet inside.

Post-Experiment
  • Shutdown all computers
  • Turn off DMI's
  • Collect the "ENV Clear Participant Measurement Form" of your participant back and check that all the measurements needed are there. The form should be signed and dated by the participant's valet and his/her in-vehicle experimenter.
  • Ask the participant what was his/her "strategy" to detect the beginning and end of the pavement markings and document it on your note sheet.
  • Take the participant up to the building.
  • Have them complete the payment voucher and pay them, if it is the 2nd evening.
  • If it the first night, remind them of their next session.
  • Thank him/her for the cooperation and have the participant sign the payment sheets.

 

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