Use and Worker Perceptions of Wearable Lighted Apparel

Project No: 125841

Target Completion Date: August 31, 2026 Safety, Operations, and Traffic Engineering

About the project:

During recent years, there has been significant development in lighted apparel. Advances in solid-state lighting and battery technology have allowed for lightweight and flexible applications with the potential to increase visibility and provide the wearer with task lighting. Lighted apparel can also provide signaling and notification to a worker who might be outside of the boundary of a work zone or have the possibility of being endangered by an encroaching vehicle. However, the effectiveness of these technologies has not been fully characterized. For example, the visibility improvements resulting from lighted apparel may be effective in one instance and not in another based on the presence of other lighting in the work area. Lighted apparel might also be heavier and less flexible than traditional clothing, potentially limiting the user or causing significant fatigue. These aspects of lighted apparel need to be measured to truly establish a usage recommendation for Virginia work zones. The purpose of this project is to develop a recommendation for the use of lighted apparel in a variety of application cases, including VDOT road workers and operational personnel. The developed recommendations depend on the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the optimal apparel specification for increasing worker visibility while maintaining or reducing user risk and user fatigue?
  • What are the apparel usage priorities based on the type of activity being performed?
  • How do workers perceive and accept the technology?
  • What are the barriers to usage, including issues related to apparel durability and usability?

Project Team

Project Monitor

Other Investigators

  • Ronald Gibbons

Last updated: June 11, 2024

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