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CEVMS and Driver Visual Behavior Study - Peer reviewed report

Experimental Approach

The study used a field research vehicle equipped with a non-intrusive eye tracking system. The vehicle was a 2007 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Sport Utility Vehicle. The eye tracking system used (SmartEye® vehicle-mounted infrared (IR) eye-movement measuring system) is shown in figure 1.(30) The system consists of two IR light sources and three face cameras mounted on the dashboard of the vehicle. The cameras and light sources are small in size, and are not attached to the driver in any manner. The face cameras are synchronized to the IR light sources and are used to determine the head position and gaze direction of the driver.

Photo of the interior of the field research vehicle showing the placement of the smart eye face camera.

Figure 1. Eye tracking system camera placement.

As a part of this eye tracking system, the vehicle was outfitted with a three-camera panoramic scene monitoring system for capturing the forward driving scene. The scene cameras were mounted on the roof of the vehicle directly above the driver's head position. The three cameras together provided an 80-degree wide by 40-degree high field of forward view. The scene cameras captured the forward view area available to the driver through the left side of the windshield and a portion of the right side of the windshield. The area visible to the driver through the rightmost area of the windshield was not captured by the scene cameras.

The vehicle was also outfitted with equipment to record GPS position, vehicle speed, and vehicle acceleration. The equipment also recorded events entered by an experimenter and synchronized those events with the eye tracking and vehicle data. The research vehicle is pictured in figure 2.

Photo of the field research vehicle.

Figrure2. FHWA's field research vehicle.

Experimental Design Overview

The approach entailed the use of the instrumented vehicle in which drivers navigated routes in cities that presented CEVMS and standard billboards as well as areas without off-premise advertising. The participants were instructed to drive the routes as they normally would. The drivers were not informed that the study was about outdoor advertising, but rather that it was about examining drivers' glance behavior as they followed route guidance directions.

Site Selection

More than 40 cities were evaluated in the selection of the test sites. Locations with CEVMS displays were identified using a variety of resources that included State department of transportation contacts, advertising company Web sites, and a popular geographic information system. A matrix was developed that listed the number of CEVMS in each city. For each site, the number of CEVMS along limited access and arterial roadways was determined.

One criterion for site selection was whether the location had practical routes that pass by a number of CEVMS as well as standard off-premise billboards and could be driven in about 30 minutes. Other considerations included access to vehicle maintenance personnel/facilities, proximity to research facilities, and ease of participant recruitment. Two cities were selected: Reading, and Richmond.

Table 1 presents the 16 cities that were included on the final list of potential study sites.

Table 1. Distibution of CEVMS by roadway classification for various cities.

State Area Limited Access Arterial Other (1) Total
VA Richmond 4 7 0 11
PA Reading 7 11 0 18
VA Roanoke 0 11 0 11
PA Pittsburgh 0 0 15 15
TX San Antonio 7 2 6 15
WI Milwaukee 14 2 0 16
AZ Phoenix 10 6 0 16
MN St. Paul/Minneapolis 8 5 3 16
TN Nashville 7 10 0 17
FL Tampa-St. Petersburg 7 11 0 18
NM Albuquerque 0 19 1 20
PA Scranton-Wilkes Barre 7 14 1 22
OH Columbus 1 22 0 23
GA Atlanta 13 11 0 24
IL Chicago 22 2 1 25
CA Los Angeles 3 71 4 78

(1) Other includes roadways classified as both limited access and arterial or instances where the road classification was unknown. Source: and

In both test cities, the following independent variables were evaluated:

Updated: 9/5/2014
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