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Alex A Black, Vu Bui, Emily Henry, Khuong Ho, Diana Pham, Tuyen Tran, Joanne M Wood; Retro-reflective clothing enhances judgment of pedestrian walking direction at night-time. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):1507.
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Fatal pedestrian collisions are over-represented at night and poor conspicuity is believed to be a leading cause of these incidents. Retro-reflective clothing has been used to enhance conspicuity, particularly when placed in a biological motion or "biomotion" configuration. This study explored how various retro-reflective configurations affect drivers' judgment of pedestrian walking direction which is critical for predicting the likelihood of a pedestrian entering the roadway and how these relate to self-reported confidence in their judgments.
Participants included 21 visually normal licensed drivers (M=21.3±0.4 years). Visual function was measured in a laboratory-based session, followed by a second session conducted at night-time on a closed road circuit. The impact of five different clothing configurations (one without and four with retro-reflective materials) on the accuracy of judging the direction of walking of a pedestrian located 135m ahead, was assessed for participants seated in a stationary vehicle with low beam headlamps. Participants indicated the direction of pedestrian motion (towards the car, straight across the road, or away from the car) and self-rated their confidence for each response (0% least confident to 100% most confident).
The accuracy in judging the direction of pedestrian motion differed significantly across the five different pedestrian clothing configurations (p<0.001). The highest response accuracy was for the biomotion configuration (80% correct), followed by legs and torso (64%), torso only (53%), legs only (50%), and without any retro-reflective material (33%). Self-reported confidence correlated poorly with the accuracy of participants' responses. An overall pre and post-experiment rating of confidence for judging pedestrian direction of motion also showed significant changes, where post-experiment confidence was better aligned with ability to correctly judge pedestrian walking direction.
The biomotion clothing configuration facilitated the highest accuracy in judgment of pedestrian walking direction compared to other configurations involving fewer highlighted joints. Confidence ratings were a poor indicator of accurate responses. Importantly, the change in self-reported overall confidence following participation in the experiment suggests there is merit for the implementation of this type of approach as a road safety educational tool.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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