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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-04-142
Date: December 2005

Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume XI: Phase II—Cost-Benefit Analysis

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This cost-benefit analysis suggests that neither the ultraviolet-A (UV–A) nor the fluorescent pavement marking technologies are fully developed for implementation. The equipment cost estimates and crash cost estimates made for this study indicate that the UV–A and pavement marking technologies tested would have to reduce night crash costs from 7 percent to more than 100 percent to cover their own costs. Under the conditions in the Virginia Smart Road tests, most of the experimental vision enhancement systems (VESs) alone or in combination with experimental marking materials show no net improvement in sight distance in comparison to the benchmark combination of halogen (i.e., tungsten-halogen) low-beam headlamps (HLB) and a nonfluorescent pavement marking. These findings make it appear unlikely that any of the experimental technologies would be break-even propositions.

The best-performing VESs are the five UV–A lamps plus halogen low beam lamps (five UV–A + HLB) and HLB alone. HLB serves as the benchmark, with both its sight distance benefit and its incremental cost defined to be zero. The crash savings forecast for five UV–A + HLB is positive because this system has a positive effect on sight distance.

Among the pavement markings tested, the fluorescent paint generally performs worse than the fluorescent thermoplastic. Because of their short service lives, neither of the tested fluorescent pavement markings can be expected to generate positive benefits in comparison with the performance of the nonfluorescent pavement marking.


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