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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Aging and the Visibility of Highway Signs: A New Look Through Old Eyes

AUTHOR:

Donald Kline

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

YEAR PUBLISHED:

1991

PUBLICATION:

Transportation Research Board

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • This study examines whether standard text highway signs or symbolic highway signs offer older drivers significant advantages in visibility under day and/or dusk lighting conditions.

SUMMARY

The purpose of this research program was to understand, and where possible, ameliorate the effects of visual aging on the visibility of symbolic highway signs.


Three studies were conducted, the specific objectives of which were to: (1) evaluate if, compared to standard text highway signs, symbolic highway signs offer older drivers significant advantages in visibility under day and/or dusk lighting conditions (Study 1); (2) determine the extent to which the visibility of symbolic highway signs can be increased among young, middle-aged and elderly drivers (Study 2); (3) assess the capacity of image-processing techniques to represent the visibility of symbolic signs for young, middle-aged and elderly drivers (Study 3); and (4) estimate the capacity of static acuity and contrast sensitivity measures to predict the visibility of highway signs among drivers of different ages (Studies 1, 2, and 3).


This report contains descriptions of the study methods, study results, and discussions of the findings.