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Pavement Marking Reduces Red Light Running
Florida Department of Transportation study finds improved pavement marking significantly reduces red light running.

Driving simulator
New research sponsored by Florida's Department of Transportation suggests a number of effective engineering alternatives can reduce red light running. Using an advanced driving simulator to monitor the reactions of ordinary drivers, University of Central Florida researchers concluded that improving street markings near intersections reduced red light running by 74 percent without increasing the likelihood of rear end collisions.

"The pavement marking countermeasure is a low-technology and inexpensive solution to reduce the number of motorists that run red lights," the study concluded.

The study placed 42 test subjects in an I-Sim Mark II, a driving simulator based on a full-size Saturn automobile that moves with six degrees of freedom. "In a controlled environment," the report explained, "a driving simulator experiment can be designed to directly investigate drivers' response, driving habit, and behavior characteristics."

The system tested virtual pavement with and without "SIGNAL AHEAD" marked in large lettering at the point where it would most help drivers make the decision of whether or not to proceed through a yellow light. Test participants gave unanimous approval to the clarity of the proposed pavement marking design.

The study also found that motorists trapped behind buses, large trucks and SUVs often found it impossible to see traffic signals, increasing the chance of red light running. Sixty-five percent of the drivers agreed that placing additional traffic signals on the side of the road improved visibility.

Traffic signals in the experiment were timed according to the minimum standards specified by the Institute for Transportation Engineers. Nearly all instances of red light running happened within the first second a signal changed to red from yellow. Test subjects explained 54 percent of the time that they ran a light because the yellow was too short. The study did not examine the effect of lengthening the yellow signal timing. Earlier this year, the Texas Transportation Institute released a study that found an extra second of yellow time could reduce collisions by 40 percent.

A full copy of the report in 1.4mb PDF format is available at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Red-light Running and Limited Visibility (UCF Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation, 8/31/2005)

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