Development of a Safety Service Patrol Uniform Standard

Report No: 99-TAR4

Published in 1998

About the report:

The Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Safety Service Patrollers (SSP) use different color uniforms depending on their geographic location. Red jumpsuits are used in the Northern Virginia District, orange jumpsuits are used in the Fredericksburg District and by the Tidewater Tunnel Patrollers, and white shirts and blue pants with a flagger's vest are used in the Suffolk District. The purpose of this research was to identify and evaluate various colors and configurations of retroreflective materials for use on the SSP uniform in an effort to maximize employee safety. This study was to recommend a color, or colors; a pattern of retroreflective material; and the type of uniform that should be used as VDOT's standard SSP uniform. The scope of the project was limited to the use of existing materials and colors readily available from vendors. The uniforms selected for testing were evaluated under controlled conditions in the field. This evaluation consisted of photographing the existing SSP uniforms and the two prototypes on a closed portion of roadway with little to no external lighting. Photographs were taken of each uniform under daytime and nighttime conditions. A videotape was used to capture how the uniforms appear while a driver drives toward them during nighttime conditions under low and high beams. The videotape was also used to capture the ergonomic movements of the uniforms and how well the retroreflective tape depicted the actual movements as humans. In addition to photographing and videotaping the uniforms, the researcher made photometric measurements under daytime and nighttime conditions and laboratory colormetric measurements of each type uniform. The report concludes that fluorescent colors enhance the daytime conspicuity of highway worker's clothing. The literature indicates that fluorescent orange and fluorescent strong yellow-green are the two best colors for use on high-visibility clothing. Of the garments studied in the daytime portion of this research, the fluorescent strong yellow-green garment was determined to be the most visible. The addition of circumferential retroreflective bands on the limbs and major hinge points (knees and elbows) provides for enhanced recognition as a person during nighttime viewing.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Stephen C. Brich

Last updated: December 12, 2023

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