Summary: RAINVISION

The RAINVISION project investigates the influence of road markings on driver behaviour, also in light of an ageing population. Therefore, the application of an in-vehicle video and data capturing device was used in order to study driver behaviour on a test track under different driving conditions.

Results indicate reflective marking materials are perceived more comfortable and guiding compared to non-reflective marking. Applying reflective marking material has a positive effect on the subjective feeling of safety of drivers, but at the same time leading to slightly higher speeds in reflective marking conditions. It can be concluded that the benefits (subjective driver comfort and better anticipation of road trajectory) outweigh the disadvantages (slightly higher speed choice)

  • RAINVISION Screenshot
Scope

The purpose of this study was to scientifically assess the impact of the visibility of different pavement markings in different conditions (night time driving in dry, wet and wet & rainy circumstances), also taking into account different age groups. Therefore, a field experiment was carried out on a specifically prepared test track near the city of Melk, Austria. 90 of 120 subjects have been selected based on psychological pre-testing to ensure a homogenous test sample for three age groups.

Method

Test drives were carried out at night within three different marking conditions (non-reflective, standard reflective material, wet reflective material) on three different test nights under dry, wet and wet & rainy driving conditions with four identical test vehicles. With the help of in-vehicle data loggers, driving performance was measured by means of speed choice, cornering and acceleration behavior. Additionally, a questionnaire used to measure drivers´ subjective comfort levels after each test run.

Results

Results indicate that that driving comfort as well as clearness and perceivableness of track trajectory was assessed best when advanced reflective material was applied on the track. Regarding driving behavior by means of speed choice, test subjects drove slowest in the non-reflective condition, faster under condition with applied standard reflective marking material, and even slightly faster under the condition with advanced reflective material. Driving behavior expressed in terms of mean lateral and longitudinal accelerations, no statistically significant differences occurred after controlling for speed.

It could be clearly shown that both reflective marking materials are perceived more comfortable and guiding compared to the non-reflective marking. Applying reflective marking material has a positive effect on the subjective feeling of safety of drivers, especially in adverse driving conditions which were simulated in this experiment. Under night-time und rainy driving conditions, the wet retro-reflective material was assessed as clearly guiding the driving path, thus providing anticipatory stimuli of road environment and taking workload off the driver.

Implications

From a traffic safety perspective, the main difference in terms of traffic safety lies in the question whether to apply or not to apply reflective marking material at all. If reflective material is applied, the better choice is to use wet reflective material instead of non-reflective material as the benefits (subjective driver comfort and better anticipation of road trajectory) outweigh the disadvantages (slightly higher speed choice) for drivers.