Driver's Visibility Requirements for Roadway Delineation. Volume I: Effects of Contrast and Configuration on Driver Performance and Behavior
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Driver's Visibility Requirements for Roadway Delineation. Volume I: Effects of Contrast and Configuration on Driver Performance and Behavior

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      Final Report
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      The overall purpose of this multiphased research study was to establish visibility requirements for roadway delineation that can be used to help establish the cost-effectiveness of a variety of delineation treatments. Given the visibility requirements developed here and subsequent cost/benefit analysis, a rational approach can be taken for the development, design, and maintenance of roadway delineation. Two basic contract objectives were addressed in this research study: 1) experimentally determine the optimum and minimum visual roadway delineation treatments; and 2) establish the lower saturation limit of yellow/white paint mixture that can still be distinguished from white. These two objectives are somewhat independent and were pursued in two different research efforts which are documented in separate volumes of this report. Two issues are addressed in this first volume: 1) the human factors requirements for adequate delineation visibility under adverse visual conditions of night, rain, and fog; and 2) the development of functional specifications for a methodology to assess highway marking contrast. The research on the above issues will provide guidance for delineation design and maintenance and quantification elf driver performance and can be used in subsequent cost/benefit analysis studies. A combined theoretical/experimental approach was taken in this research. A theory for delineation visibility and driver perceptual requirements was developed and tested in a laboratory simulation. Further validation tests were then conducted in an instrumented vehicle on the open highway. The simulation end field test results were compared and connected analytically through the use of the previously developed visibility theory, and a model was developed to quantify steering performance in terms of delineation contrast and configuration (i.e., line segment and gap lengths). It was found that the quality of delineation under adverse visibility conditions depends on a combination of contrast and configuration. Conclusions are drawn about delineation contrast and configuration requirements, and suggestions are made on practical field techniques for measuring delineation contrast.
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