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Title: Investigating the visual tasks of pedestrians and how one of these tasks, obstacle detection, is influenced by lighting
Author: Uttley, Jim
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 7239
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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Current guidelines for pedestrian road lighting are not based on empirical evidence. One approach to providing suitable evidence is to examine the effect of lighting on the visual tasks of pedestrians. This first requires an understanding of what these visual tasks are. An eye-tracking study was carried out in which pedestrians walked a real, outdoor route during the day and after-dark. A novel dual-task method was used to identify the critical visual tasks of the pedestrians. Reaction times to a concurrent audio response task were used to indicate instances when attention may have been diverted towards something significant in the visual environment. Analysis of the eye-tracking videos at these critical times found that the path and other people were the two most significant items looked at. Observation of the path is important for detection and avoidance of obstacles and trip hazards. Good road lighting should therefore facilitate obstacle detection. An obstacle detection experiment was therefore carried out examining the effect of illuminance and Scotopic/Photopic (S/P) ratio on obstacle detection. The experiment improved the realism and ecological validity of previous research by introducing a dynamic fixation target, realistic apparatus scales and real walking (on a treadmill) whilst carrying out an obstacle detection task. Results showed that obstacle detection only improved with illuminance increases up to 2.0 lux. A higher S/P ratio (2.0) provided better detection performance than a low S/P ratio (1.2), but only at the lowest illuminance used of 0.2 lux. The data is used to discuss optimal design criteria for pedestrian road lighting based on obstacle detection. However, other purposes of road lighting, such as creating a feeling of reassurance and enabling accurate interpersonal judgements to be carried out, should also be considered when designing pedestrian road lighting.
Supervisor: Fotios, Steve Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available