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John Donovan Bullough - Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 21 Union Street, Troy, NY 12180 USA -

Jeremy David Snyder - Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 21 Union Street, Troy, NY 12180 USA -

Nicholas Paul Skinner - Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 21 Union Street, Troy, NY 12180 USA -

Mark Stanley Rea - Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 21 Union Street, Troy, NY 12180 USA -


Presently in work zones, standard barricade warning lights are used to provide channelizing and warning functions. These yellow flashing lights are presently used for different work zone activities. Concepts for a non-standard barricade lighting system were developed and evaluated: flashing red lights when traffic is stopped or very slow within a work zone, flashing green lights when a work zone is inactive and traffic should proceed normally, expanding yellow lights when drivers should slow down and exercise enhanced caution, and sweeping yellow lights when lane closures require drivers to move to the right or left. Prototype units were designed and fabricated. A survey of driver understanding of these functions indicated that drivers would probably understand all of the functions but that the flashing red and green functions could result in conflicts with other roadway traffic control devices. A field evaluation of the expanding and sweeping functions in mock-up work zones demonstrated that driver comprehension of the lights could be translated to a driving situation. Drivers changed lanes sooner (providing a 40% longer lane change margin) in response to the sweeping function than to conventional flashing barricade lights, and subjective ratings about the intended meaning of the tested functions were also positive.

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This study was supported by the U.S. Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) through the Region 2 University Transportation Research Center (UTRC) at the City University of New York. The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) made in-kind contributions to the project including assistance from Rochelle Hosley, Janice Methe, Brian DeWald and Peter Melas of NYSDOT. In-kind support was also provided by LumenTech Innovations with input from Richard Saburro and Steven Talbot of LumenTech, and Eugene Schuler of Linc-The Lighting Cultivator. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute supported the project through a partial graduate student research assistantship. The Town of East Greenbush is also gratefully acknowledged for permitting this study to be conducted along a town roadway. Technical assistance was provided by Terence Klein and Anna Lok from the Lighting Research Center. Richard Pysar designed and programmed the sweeping and expanding BLS prototype units.


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