U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


Skip to content
FacebookYouTubeTwitterFlickrLinkedIn

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

 
SUMMARY REPORT
This summary report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-15-067    Date:  August 2015
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-15-067
Date: August 2015

 

EXPLORATORY ADVANCED RESEARCH

Breakthroughs in Vision and Visibility for Highway Safety Workshop Summary Report - August 13-14, 2014

PDF Version (1.73 MB)

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®

 

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

 

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-15-067

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Breakthroughs in Vision and Visibility for Highway Safety Workshop Summary Report

5. Report Date

September 2015

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Catherine McInnis and Tom Morton

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

 

Woodward Communications, Inc.
1420 N Street, NW, Suite 102
Washington, DC 20005

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.

Contract DTFH61-14-V-00025
Contract DTFH61-15-A-00001

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Workshop Summary Report, August 2014

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HRTM-30

15. Supplementary Notes

FHWA's Contracting Officer's Task Manager: Zachary Ellis, HRTM-30
Technical Contact: Michelle Arnold, HRDS-30

16. Abstract

On August 13-14, 2014, at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Office of Safety Research and Development and the Office of Safety, with support from the Exploratory Advanced Research Program, convened a 2-day workshop, "Breakthroughs in Vision and Visibility for Highway Safety." Investigators have previously conducted research in a variety of areas surrounding visibility issues, including efforts exploring retroreflectivity and pavement-marking signs, and legibility of fonts; however, much of this work has been tapering off. The objective of this workshop was to identify gaps in highway visibility research, explore innovative tools and techniques to fill these gaps, and determine the role for FHWA.

17. Key Words

Vision, visibility, highway, safety, lighting, luminance, retroreflectivity, pavement marking, driver safety, eye-movement analysis, signage, fonts.

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

36

22. Price

N/A

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

Executive Summary

On August 13-14, 2014, at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, VA, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Office of Safety Research and Development (R&D) and the Office of Safety, with support from the Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program, convened a 2-day workshop, "Breakthroughs in Vision and Visibility for Highway Safety." Michelle Arnold of FHWA's Office of Safety R&D Human Factors Team provided a brief introduction describing the purpose of the workshop, after which Monique Evans, FHWA's Office Director for Safety R&D, formally welcomed workshop participants. In her welcome address, Evans stated that investigators have conducted research in a variety of areas surrounding visibility issues, including efforts exploring retroreflectivity and pavement-marking signs, and legibility of fonts; however, much of this work has been tapering off. Evans addressed the need to identify the role for FHWA in this particular field, what is needed, and where FHWA fits in.

Next, David Kuehn, EAR Program Manager, briefly discussed the purpose of the EAR Program. Kuehn began by stating that the EAR Program not only focuses on finding advances in science and engineering that have not been applied in transportation research, but also uses these advances to enhance the highway transportation safety system. He mentioned that there has been a lot of research conducted relating to visibility but that this research has focused on the energy sector and the vehicle side, as opposed to transportation infrastructure. Kuehn also noted that there have been several advances in sight and cognition research that move beyond the existing processes and framework used in highway visibility.

During day one of the workshop, participants observed presentations from five expert speakers operating in different fields related to visibility research. The speakers covered various topics, including FHWA's previous research, roadway-lighting limitations, and eye-movement analysis. Following the presentations, the panel of speakers and audience members discussed current issues in this area of research and identified research gaps that could help move the field forward.

On day two of the workshop, Cathy Satterfield at FHWA's Office of Safety provided workshop participants with a recap of day one and summarized the research that was presented by the five speakers. Following the recap, the workshop participants divided into two groups to discuss in detail the following two topics: (1) what exploratory research do we need to conduct to bring us into the future; and (2) how do we coordinate across disciplines?

The facilitator for the second day of activities asked each group to discuss what applied research is needed and identify next steps for future research. Following this, the workshop participants visited FHWA's Arens Photometric Visibility Laboratory. Researchers have used this laboratory to conduct a variety of studies, including evaluations of the photometric and colorimetric properties of traffic control devices. Researchers have also used the laboratory to investigate signage and pavement-marking materials and traffic signal lights. The workshop participants discussed possible ideas for use of the laboratory in the future.

Key discussion points from the workshop are summarized as follows:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

List of Figures

Figure 1. Control system topologies.

Figure 2. Driver crash rate and luminance.

Figure 3. Roadway visibility concepts.

Figure 4. Eye movements navigating complex mazes.

Figure 5. Proposed framework for visibility research.

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

CALTRANSCalifornia Department of Transportation
DOTDepartment of Transportation
EARExploratory Advanced Research
FHWAFederal Highway Administration
GPSglobal positioning system
HUDhead-up display
IFSTTARFrench Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development, and Networks
LEDlight-emitting diodes
MUTCDManual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
NCHRPNational Cooperative Highway Research Program
R&DResearch and Development
SEMssaccadic eye movements
TTITexas A&M Transportation Institute
V2Vvehicle-to-vehicle

 

 

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101