Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology


Balk, Stacy


Most fatal collisions between vehicles and pedestrians occur at night; inadequate visibility is a key factor. Previous research has shown that positioning reflective markers on pedestrians in a manner that depicts biological motion greatly enhances conspicuity. This on-road experiment examined the conspicuity advantages of a full biological motion configuration relative to that provided by an ANSI class II safety vest. 120 healthy young participants were driven along a 3.5 mile route and pressed a button when they were confident they saw a pedestrian. A test pedestrian on the left shoulder of the roadway wore black clothing with either an ANSI class II safety vest, the same vest with added ankle straps, or a full biological motion configuration. The pedestrian either faced the oncoming vehicle or the roadway while either walking in place or standing still. Response distances were maximal when motion information was present and when the pedestrian faced the test vehicle. These results indicate the conspicuity of pedestrians wearing an ANSI class II safety vest can be significantly enhanced by simply adding retroreflective material to the ankles.

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Psychology Commons