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

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-137
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume VI: Phase II—Study 4: Visual Performance During Nighttime Driving in Fog

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ENV-Objects Protocol for Onroad Experimenters—Fog

  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, and 10 miles-per-hour if the fog making has started.
    • Wear closed-toe shoes at all times.
    • Wear dark clothes and dark shoes.
    • Always wear your vest on the road during set up and shut down.
    • Do not travel with the tailgate open.
    • Wear your safety glasses whenever you are exposed to headlights.
    • Always drive with your lights on.
    • If equipment breaks, tell the PI as soon as possible. Do not leave your shift without notifying the PI or lead experimenter of any damage.
    • Attend the nightly meeting.
    • Acknowledge all radio messages you receive.

    Each night, you will need to arrive to the (testing facility) 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.

    Operations of the headlights are outlined with a diagram and description in each vehicle. Failure to follow the procedures will prevent the headlights from working, and 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 8 need to be minimized (emergencies excluded). Note that the front seat 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 front seat experimenters extra time to reply.

  2. Pre-Experiment

    Attend meeting:

    • Review changes in protocol.
    • Lead experimenter will distribute the following forms:
      • Vehicle and Road prep sheets-to the valets.
      • VES order sheets with VES diagram- to valet.
      • Object order to onroad experimenters.

    Onroad experimenters are responsible for obtaining the following:

    • A radio prepared in a plastic bag along with extension if desired.
    • Vest.
    • Flash light.
    • Safety glasses.

    Put on vests.

    Load the cones in to the SUV 3 to be placed out at the turnarounds when you reach the road.

    Three will be dropped off at the second turnaround and 4 at the bottom (third) turn around.

    Park SUV 1 & 2 at the front of the building for the participants.

    Set up parking spaces by putting out the cones at the appropriate locations.

    Set up cones at the entrance and exit points of both turnarounds.

    Make sure all cones on the road that are not part of the ENV study, are removed from the road.

    Each night you will be assigned one of the following locations:

    Station 1, 5

    Station 2, 4

    Before getting to your station double check to make sure you have all of the necessary items. Also make sure one of your radios is set to channel 1, and either hold it or attach it to your clothing. Radios are to be worn at all times. As soon as the participants are on the road, the following rules will begin:

    1. Radios are only to be used for communicating information pertaining to the experiment. There is to be no communication about procedure on channel 1 unless there is a deviation from the usual protocol. All onroad experimenters are expected to know the protocol without confirmation from others.
    2. There will be a relay at station 1 to repeat any messages not heard by geographically opposite stations.
    3. As soon as you receive a message (providing it pertains to you), you must acknowledge that message immediately by saying, “Station X (and Y) copy.”
    4. If there is an emergency you are to get on the radio IMMEDIATELY and contact the relay station experimenter. The relay station experimenter will make sure the in-vehicle experimenters heard the message.
    5. As the trials progress, you will need to make sure that you are ready in the proper position before the experimental vehicle gets to your station and cleared before the vehicle comes back up the road.
    6. The experimental vehicle will always drive on the center of the road. If the wind affects where the fog is falling (i.e., towards the tower side or other) please indicate your station and where the fog has the greatest concentration (e.g. Station X – tower, Station Y – Other).

  3. Objects Protocol

    Drivers will be oriented to the road by driving down the hill. During this time onroad experimenters are to remain hidden. However, on the way up the hill, the following stations will need to present objects:

    Station 4 White Perpendicular Pedestrian
    Station 5 White Parallel Pedestrian

    In-vehicle experimenters will assume that all stations are ready, unless an onroad experimenter radios to say otherwise. Below is a table of the object along with the placement location. This location assumes that the vehicle is driving in the middle of the roadway. If the object needs to be shifted towards the guardrail or towards the other side, move the location accordingly.

    Perpendicular white pedestrian Straight (perpendicular) line between center of each lane Wear white clothing. Walk from the center of the lane on the passenger side of the vehicle to the center of the other lane and back. Repeat.

    After the first lap onroad experimenters are to begin as indicated on object order sheets. The front seat experimenters will indicate when the object trials begin.

    Put safety glasses on.

    SAFETY NOTE: Experimental vehicles are not to come within 40 feet of the object on the roadway. Also, the front seat experimenters will ask you to “clear” once they have detected you, or if they are close to the safety margin. In that case, you can clear as soon as you hear “Station X - Clear.” However, if you do not feel safe at any point in time you MUST clear your position.

    After you step off the road, maintain your position on the shoulder. This will allow the front seat experimenters to record the distances of detection and recognition on the distance measuring devices. This methodology will be repeated for all six VES configurations. The valets will drive around and collect all experimenters and cones after the sixth configuration. If you notice any problems or mistakes occurring during the night record them on the vehicle preparation sheets.

  4. Ending Protocol

    Gather all experimental equipment and return to the building. At the end of each night there will be a checklist of items for you to complete (see below). After the items are checked, you will be free to leave.

    • The onroad people will be picked up by one of the experimental vehicles.
    • Valet will collect cones from the turnarounds and carry them in the pickup truck.
    • Return the vehicles to the building.
    • Note any vehicle problems on the vehicle preparation sheets, and then write them down on the message board.
    • Return the radios
    • Submit paperwork to front seat experimenter.


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