In-Situ Testing of State Patrol Vehicle Lighting, Retro-reflectors, and Paint

Principal Investigator(s):

Craig Shankwitz, Fmr Director, Intelligent Veh. Lab, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

In the United States, more police officers are killed in collisions at roadside stops than through felonious acts. Causal factors that affect police safety at roadside stops include officer conspicuity, squad conspicuity, weather conditions, and the attention and fatigue level of the traveling public. This research resulted in insight and guidelines that may ultimately improve officer safety at roadside stops. The project was designed to modify an existing sensor-based traffic monitoring system so that it can serve as a test bed to evaluate the retro-reflector, lighting, and paint treatments of an emergency vehicle to determine whether particular combinations produce improved ?move over? behavior of oncoming traffic. This is done using automated data analysis software built specifically for this project. Tests are performed at a fully instrumented rural intersection. After mimicking a traffic stop where a patrol vehicle is placed at this intersection, the experimenter can onto a website and enter the time when the test took place. Analysis software then draws results from the data, which are e-mailed to the experimenters, who can devise their own test regimes following the guidelines developed in the research and draw their own conclusions. A second system was built to provide a more portable option for testing in urban areas. This system consists of two freestanding radar boxes with wireless communication as well as one netbook computer. Test procedures and results are analogous to the original system. Additional calibration is automatically performed to account for the variable position of the radars.


Project details:

  • Project number: 2010071
  • Start date: 01/2010
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Research implementation, Safety