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Technical Paper

Comparing A Timed Exposure Methodology to the Nighttime Recognition Responses from SHRP-2 Naturalistic Drivers

Collision statistics show that more than half of all pedestrian fatalities caused by vehicles occur at night. The recognition of objects at night is a crucial component in driver responses and in preventing nighttime pedestrian accidents. To investigate the root cause of this fact pattern, Richard Blackwell conducted a series of experiments in the 1950s through 1970s to evaluate whether restricted viewing time can be used as a surrogate for the imperfect information available to drivers at night. The authors build on these findings and incorporate the responses of drivers to objects in the road at night found in the SHRP-2 naturalistic database. A closed road outdoor study and an indoor study were conducted using an automatic shutter system to limit observation time to approximately ¼ of a second. Results from these limited exposure time studies showed a positive correlation to naturalistic responses, providing a validation of the time-limited exposure technique.