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This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
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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Enhanced Night Visibility Pavement Marking - Onroad Experimenter Protocol

  1. General Policies

    The primary goal of this research effort is safety. For that reason, you need to be safe at all times.
    • Drive in a safe manner at all times. This means observing the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on the road.
    • Use a spotter when moving vehicles in and out of the garage.
    • Always step back from the road when participant vehicles begin to move.
    • Wear closed-toe shoes at all times.
    • Always wear your vest on the road.
    • Do not travel with the tailgate open.
    • Wear your safety glasses when checking ALL headlights.

    Over the course of the study, it is likely that apparatus will be broken. If you notice something is broken or you are the one who broke it, tell someone immediately if it is crucial to the study or as soon as convenient if it is not crucial. At any rate, you must report such damage before you leave from your shift.

    Each night, you will need to arrive to the building on time. The nightly meeting will cover topics such as protocol changes, problems from the previous night, and schedule concerns. Make sure you document any problems from the previous night and make a note of them on the whiteboard. Operation of the headlights are outlined with a diagram and description in each vehicle. Failure to follow the procedures will prevent the headlights from working, therefore leave gaps in the data. For this reason, you are to review the operations each night for your assigned vehicle.

    While the study is being conducted, radio communications on Channel 3 need to be minimized (emergencies excluded). Note that the in-vehicle experimenters cannot always respond to questions if they are interacting with the participant at that time. For this reason, you will need to give the in-vehicle experimenters extra time.

  2. Pre-Experiment

    At the nightly meeting, you will find which vehicles you are responsible for that night. You will be solely responsible for all aspects of that vehicle.

    Each experimenter will need to sign out two (SUV experimenters) or four (Sedan/Pickup experimenters) radios.

    Each onroad experimenter will be responsible to prepare vehicles. Each night, you will be required to perform the following tasks on the vehicles:

    • Review the headlamp operations procedure located between the seats of the vehicle.
    • Clean the windshield inside and outside.
    • Wipe off headlamps. You should not be using cleaning solutions but just a shop rag.
    • Make sure all the headlights are working.
    • Make sure the radio is off.
    • Cover the side mirrors with the stuff sacks; cover the inside mirror with poster board.
    • Set dashboard lights to the minimum setting (not off).
    • Make sure the vehicle has the power inverter and the DMI cable.
    • Place all equipment not used for the Night Visibility study into the trunk/back of the vehicle.
    • Place one radio in each vehicle and turn it onto Channel 3 at a middle volume.
    • Place a flashlight in each vehicle- the best place is on the passenger-side floor.
    • Close sunroofs- glass and cover.
    • Check tire pressure. Tire pressure should be as prescribed on the inside of the driver door. Load steps into one of the vehicles.

    Onroad experimenters will need to move all of the vehicles out of the garage area. The onroad experimenters will then take all the experimental vehicles to the road. This includes the SUV's and Sedan/Pickup (which vehicle goes first depends on whether it is Session 1 or Session 2). The in-vehicle experimenters will take the compact cars to the front entrance of the building. Back the vehicles into the entrance area. Make sure the vehicles are staggered so the participant can easily get in and out.

    The Sedan/Pickup will set up the parking space cones and set up the cone indicating the dip in the road. Cone location is indicated by spray paint marks on the side of the road. Place the cone in the middle of the road (i.e. on the yellow skip marks) perpendicular to the location. The dip cone is painted white.

    SUV 1 driver will put the steps on the right-hand shoulder for the on road experimenters to use. The steps need to be far enough off the road so that the participants will not run the risk of running over them.

  3. Data Collection

    The onroad experimenters will serve as valets. As a valet, you will be responsible for one participant for the entire night. The experimenters whose vehicles are driven first will be the "personal" valets for that evening.

    • Each person is responsible for driving their experimental vehicles down to the turnaround.
    • Each valet needs to get their valet box filled with measurement stuff.
    • Overall goal is to make subject feel as comfortable as possible in each car.
    • Be sure to be wearing a vest at all times.
    • Move the seat to the furthest position back before the participant gets in.
    • Put the stepstools on the side of the road so you can get them if the participant needs them.
    • Have a flashlight in hand.
    • Meet participants at the first vehicle (the compact cars) and show them to their first vehicle as per the experimenter sheet.
    • Introduce yourself to the participants before getting them out of the vehicle.
    • Assist subject when he or she is getting out of the vehicle if necessary. Use the stepstools if necessary. Lead/Guide participant from one vehicle to the next by shining the flashlight on the road in front of them.
    • Open the door for the participant and move the seat back before they get in.
    • Orient person to each vehicle and turn on the lights. Be sure to turn on the lights yourselves- do not let the participant do it. If they reach for the light switch, tell them, "That's OK, I'll take care of this for you."

    This one you need to have them start the vehicle before orienting them because the seat and wheel move when you start it. Be sure to warn the participants of that before you start the car.

    • Button on left side of seat moves seat up and down, back and forth (show button).
    • Button for the steering wheel moves the wheel up and down, in and out.
    • There are many lights. The only ones they need to worry about are the speedometers, analog and digital (point each out). The subject is free to use whichever they feel most comfortable with.
    • Hand the participant the keys and have them start the car.
    • Turn on the headlights all the way (two clicks). Make sure they are on before you leave the vehicle.
    • Show the participant how to adjust the interior lights. If necessary, help them to adjust it by asking them to tell you when it is comfortable.

    SUV 1
    • Button on left side of seat moves seat up and down, back and forth (show button).
    • Button for the steering wheel moves the wheel up and down.
    • Hand the participant the keys and have them start the car.
    • Turn on the parking lights (one click only).
    • Show the participant how to adjust the interior lights. Note that with this vehicle the lights do not dim unless the door is closed.

    SUV 2
    • Button on left side of seat moves seat up and down, back and forth (show button).
    • Button for the steering wheel moves the wheel up and down.
    • Hand the participant the keys and have them start the car.
    • Turn on the parking lights (one click only).
    • Show the participant how to adjust the interior lights. If necessary, help them to adjust it by asking them to tell you when it is comfortable.

    • Lever in front of seat moves seat up and down (show lever).
    • Button for the steering wheel moves the wheel back and forth.
    • Hand the participant the keys and have them start the car.
    • Turn on the parking lights (one click only).
    • Show the participant how to adjust the interior lights. If necessary, help them to adjust it by asking them to tell you when it is as bright as they would normally have it.
    • Remind the participant to keep their seatbelt on at all times.
    • Ask them if they have any questions.

    Complete the measurements.

    To do this, first explain to the participant that you are going to make a mark on the window as to where their eye level is located. Instruct them to adjust their seat to where they think they will be comfortable. Once they are situated, tell them to look ahead and relax. Close the door and take the measurements.

    • Measure the horizontal height by taking the level and moving it up the window until it "intersects" with the eye level. Make a line at that point with your marker.
    • Measure the vertical distance by taking the level and moving it across the window until it intersects with the eye level. Mark a vertical mark at the point.
    • Use this point to measure the distances.
    • Take vertical measurement with metal end of tape measure down where the glass intersects with the black plastic.
    • Take horizontal measurement with metal end of tape measure to the right where glass intersects with black plastic.
    • Before you return to a vehicle, walk in front of the experimental vehicle to ensure the headlights are on and working. The lights cannot be turned on until the vehicle is the furthest one forward so you may have to wait until the other vehicle leaves to check the lights. Be sure to step back from the vehicle as soon as you are done checking.

    Sedan: Regular headlamps only.

    SUV 1: If UV is required, make sure they are working. Otherwise, make sure the two standard ones are on.

    SUV 2: The top three UV lights should be on at all times. In the five UV condition the bottom two should be on. Report if one is not working or extremely dull. The standard lights should be working at all times.

    Pickup: The two external headlamps on the front of the vehicle should be on.

    The first parking space on each side is termed a "vehicle drop off" and needs to be available at the end of every lap. The valets will move any vehicle that is left in those locations.

    Otherwise, you can wait in the other vehicle while the participants are taking their pavement laps. When you see the vehicles approaching the turnaround, move to the left shoulder of the road. NOTE: For the first headlamp there will be a training lap. The experimental vehicle will not stop at the turnaround. You must stay in the parked vehicle for safety.

    When the participant gets back up to the turnaround, meet them at the car as soon as it comes to a complete stop. Once the participant sees you, you may open the door.

    Turn off the parking lights (see above).

    Ask the participant to turn off the vehicle and to hand you keys.

    Help the participant out of the vehicle. Use the step if necessary. NOTE: Never move the participant so that they are in direct view of the oncoming lights. Have the participant wait until the other vehicle has turned off their lights before you take them out of the vehicle.

    Put the keys to each car in the door lock when it is not being used.

    Escort the participant to the next vehicle:

    Repeat the orientation if they have not been in the vehicle before.

    If they have been in the vehicle before, ask them if they remember the controls.
    Be sure to offer to answer questions.

    Finally, never tell the participant how many more laps they have. This is because in the event of a computer failure, etc. they may repeat a lap at the end. If this is the case, the in-vehicle participant will tell you. We do not, however, want the participant to know that they are going to do an extra lap.

  4. Interim

    The interim would occur is there are two groups of participants that night. If there are not two groups, then skip to 6. Post-Experiment. If there are two groups, you will set up for glare (Section 3) when the in-vehicle experimenters contact you. The entire procedure will repeat for the second group.
  5. Night Two

    Procedures for the second night will be the same except that the Sedan/Pickup will be exchanged. The VES on the SUV's will be switched during the day therefore will be ready before 7:00. There will not be any practice laps the second night.

  6. Post-Experiment

    At the end of the last pavement markings, the participants and in-vehicle experimenters will return to the building in the compact cars. In addition, the SUV's need to uncover the road-closed signs at the end of the road and fold the tarps. SUV's also need to pick up the glare cones. The Sedan/pickup driver need to collect the cones from the first turnaround as well as the cones for the pavement dip on the road.

    Once the cones are collected, the vehicles return to the [contractor]. The SUVs need to be parked in the Simulator Bay. The power inverters need to be unplugged and the DMIs need to be turned off. Do this by pressing the first button on the left.

    Check the gas level in the vehicle. If it is below ¼ tank, put a note on the whiteboard.

    Return all keys to the lock box and make sure the box is locked. The Sedan/Pickup driver will make sure the doors are closed completely and locked. At this time, you can note any vehicle problems on the vehicle preparation sheets.

    Return the radios and vests to the Control Room. Be sure to sign in the radios in the second column of the log book. Also, make sure the power is "off" when you put the radios into the charger.

    Return the paperwork to the appropriate folder. You will find a folder with the date on it- put them in there. Return the radios and vests to the Control Room. Note any vehicle problems on the white board. After you fill out your time sheet, you can leave for the night.


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