Using biological motion to enhance the conspicuity of roadway workers
Wood, Joanne M.
Tyrrell, Richard A.
Marszalek, Ralph P.
Britt, Thomas W.
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Wood, J.M., Tyrrell, R.A., Marszalek, R.P., Lacherez, P., Chaparro, A., & Britt, T.W. (2011). Using biological motion to enhance the conspicuity of roadway workers. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43(3), 1036-1041. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2010.12.002
This study examined whether the conspicuity of road workers at night can be enhanced by distributing retroreflective strips across the body to present a pattern of biological motion (biomotion). Twenty visually normal drivers (mean age = 40.3 years) participated in an experiment conducted at two open-road work sites (one suburban and one freeway) at night-time. At each site, four road workers walked in place wearing a standard road worker night vest either (a) alone, (b) with additional retroreflective strips on thighs, (c) with additional retroreflective strips on ankles and knees, or (d) with additional retroreflective strips on eight moveable joints (full biomotion). Participants, seated in stationary vehicles at three different distances (80 m, 160 m, 240 m), rated the relative conspicuity of the four road workers. Road worker conspicuity was maximized by the full biomotion configuration at all distances and at both sites. The addition of ankle and knee markings also provided significant benefits relative to the standard vest alone. The effects of clothing configuration were more evident at the freeway site and at shorter distances. Overall, the full biomotion configuration was ranked to be most conspicuous and the vest least conspicuous. These data provide the first evidence that biomotion effectively enhances conspicuity of road workers at open-road work sites.
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