Enhanced Night Visibility Series, Volume I: Executive Summary
Hankey, Jonathan M.
Gibbons, Ronald B. (Ronald Bruce)
McLaughlin, Shane B.
Dingus, Thomas A.
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This volume, an executive summary of the Enhanced Night Visibility project, is the first of 18 volumes that report on the project's evaluation of the merit of implementing supplemental ultraviolet headlamps, supplemental infrared systems, and other vision enhancement systems (VESs) to enhance drivers' nighttime roadway safety. The entire project evaluated 18 VESs in terms of their ability to provide object detection and recognition. Objects included scenarios with pedestrians standing or walking in different locations on the roadway. Pedestrians were dressed in black, white, or blue clothing to produce varying levels of contrast with their surroundings. Detection and recognition testing took place in clear weather, rain, snow, and fog conditions. Project research also evaluated a subset of the VESs for their effect on drivers' disability and discomfort glare. The VESs were also tested for their value in facilitating drivers' detection of pavement markings and other traffic control devices. The results indicated that supplemental ultraviolet headlamps do not provide sufficient benefit to justify further testing; however, supplemental infrared vision enhancement systems do offer an improvement over headlamps alone for detection of pedestrians. Near infrared systems have the potential to provide an added benefit in detecting pedestrians in inclement weather, but the implementation of NIR technology is the key to achieving this benefit.