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Road-edge delineation in rural areas: effects on driving behaviour

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When driving on lower-category Dutch rural roads without any delineation, drivers are likely to drift off the road with their right-side wheels, thus incurring damage to the pavement edge or even leading to accidents. In two experiments, two types of road-edge delineation, with continuous or dashed edge lines, were compared with two control roads without lines or with only a dashed line on the road axis. The first experiment consisted of non-obtrusive video recordings of passing traffic. Vehicle position on the experimental roads was more to the road's centre than on the control roads. The second experiment was a driving test with an instrumented vehicle, during daytime lighting and during darkness. Again, vehicle lateral position was more central on the experimental roads, especially during darkness. Subjects could safely pass oncoming vehicles. Driving speed increased on the experimental roads compared with the unlined control road, but not beyond speeds found on the axis-lined control road. Driver's mental effort while driving over the experimental roads did not differ from the effort while driving over the control roads. Subjectively rated effort was higher for the unlined control road than for the three other roads. Subjects preferred the edge-lined roads to the unlined control road, but not more than the axis-lined control road. It was concluded that edge-lines may provide a simple and effective way of inducing a more favourable lateral position on rural roads without having negative effects on subjective appraisal, driving performance or mental workload.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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