Emergency Vehicle Visibility Study

Emergency Vehicle Visibility and Conspicuity Study

Emergency Vehicle Visibility Study



As a result of a cooperative agreement between FPP and the United States Fire Administration, research findings of emergency vehicle visiblity have been completed and a report published. This agreement was primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and their National Institute of Justice. The ability for civilian drivers to quickly recognize the presence of an emergency vehicle is a significant factor in reducing the chance of a collision. This report provides information on new technologies, methods, and materials for improving the visibility of all types of emergency vehicles.

The report provides information on the different types, styles, colors, and patterns of reflective materials that are effective for this purpose. Much information has been gleaned from European emergency services who have been a leader in the technology for many years.


The current report can be downloaded at no charge:

Sample of key findings include:

  • benefits of increased use of retroreflective materials
  • importance of both visibility and recognition
  • use of contrasting colors amid the visual clutter of the roadway
  • higher visibility of fluorescent colors during daylight hours
  • the theoretical possibility to “over-do” the use of retroreflective materials
  • effectiveness of patterns related to origin of use




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