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Signs are critical elements of the visual environment for pedestrians, drivers and other users. Regardless of their purpose, signs should be easily detected and readily legible. Tools such as visual performance models have been developed to allow the assessment of the speed and accuracy with which observers can read information on a sign. These models include factors such as the luminance of the sign, the contrast between the sign's characters and their backgrounds, and the size of the characters. One factor that has not been included in visual performance models is the aspect ratio of characters, particularly of alphanumeric symbols. To address this, a small study was carried out to investigate observers' ability to identify characters ranging in contrast and aspect ratio.
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