U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-11-033
Date: May 2011
The current research will provide information on when and where drivers place their attention and how their driving is affected by what they see. Learning how low light, aging eyesight, and external stimuli affect a night driver’s perceptions is a particularly important aspect of the study as the average age of road users is increasing.
Capturing Data on Looking and Lighting
“A major challenge for researchers is to capture information simultaneously about the driving environment and driver reactions,” Andersen says. To this end, investigators have married two innovative technologies—a luminance camera system developed at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and an infrared eye-tracking system purchased and modified by the Texas Transportation Institute—to create a single, noninvasive system that can measure the luminance of objects, pavement markings, and signage while tracking drivers’ eye movements.
By using this integrated monitoring system, investigators have been gathering data on Virginia Smart Road and Texas Transportation Institute test tracks. Two age groups have been enrolled in the tests, representing younger (ages 16–34 years) and older (ages 64 years and above) drivers. To examine other variables, researchers have been collecting data under two levels of overhead lighting (none and high-pressure sodium), two types of signs at varying locations, two types of objects (such as pedestrians and obstacles), glare and nonglare conditions, and two types of pavement marking. By observing drivers’ speed, steering variability, and lane-keeping accuracy, the investigators will draw inferences about the impact of roadway features under varying conditions. Trends and probabilities will be calculated for a variety of roadway environmental elements.
After the project data have been analyzed, FHWA and the research team will convene an expert peer-review panel for a real-world demonstration and model review. On the basis of the expert review and additional data collected, the investigators will revise the model and formulate future directions for continuing research. Those directions will likely include developing a complete driver visual model; carrying out factor testing on other variables, such as weather conditions, cognitive loading, and fatigue levels; and conducting rural and urban testing under varying conditions.
For more information on this EAR Program project, contact Carl Andersen, FHWA Office of Safety Research and Development, at 202-493-3366 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Topics: research, exploratory advanced research
Keywords: research, exploratory advanced research
TRT Terms: research, exploratory advanced research