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CurveEffects of Roadway Delineator Spacing, Size, and Height on Drivers' Perception and Behavior

One way that drivers on highways detect the sharpness of a roadway curve is through delineation techniques -- for example distance from the road edge, specialized road markings, and altered delineator (road sign) height. In the hopes of finding a method of getting drivers to slow down when approaching sharp curves, researchers at the LRC have tested and manipulated the size and position of roadway delineation signage.

Led by Nicholas Skinner and John Bullough, investigators provided two methods of looking into this matter: they provided a driving experiment and provided image-based surveys.

Results showed that changing the size of the signs had a significant effect on perceived curve sharpness, but did not alter driver behavior. However, merely modifying the position of the curve signage to resemble a sharper curve did not produce any measurable change in perception or driver behavior. The image-based sharpness perception study also revealed that the apparent vertical distance between the upper visible edge of the road pavement and the bottom of the furthest visible signs was significantly correlated with perceived sharpness.



Skinner N and J Bullough. "Effects of Roadway Delineator Spacing, Size, and Height on Drivers' Perception and Behavior." 2009. Transportation Research Board, 88th Annual Meting. Washington D.C., January 11-15.

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