Flicker Vertigo Studies

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One of the main visual contributors to discomfort on high speed trains is lighting. Illumination within the trains carriages is an important factor to consider for safety, convenience and comfort. One of the main sources of discomfort related to illumination is glare. Glare occurs when the eyes are exposed to a source of light greater than that for which the eyes are adapted. Glare can either occur from the artificial lights inside the train carriages or externally from the sun with complications ranging from mild discomfort and annoyance, to an impediment to vision and reduction in safety (Oborne, 1978).
In order to reduce discomfort and disability glare there are a variety of designs considerations that should be considered. Although completely eliminating glare from the sun is almost impossible, due to its ever changing intensity and position relative to the train, there are certain measure that can help reduce it. The simplest preventative methods include equipping the windows with blinds which the passenger can utilise to achieve
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Flicker vertigo is defined by Rash (2004) as ‘an imbalance in brain-cell activity caused by exposure to the low-frequency flickering (or flashing) of a relatively bright light’. The effects of this can vary from mild discomfort in the form of dizziness, nausea and nervousness to more serious effects of vertigo, convulsions or loss of consciousness (Oborne, 1978). Flicker vertigo can affect a passenger if they are experienced to a light-flashing sequence anywhere in the range of 4 – 20Hz (Rash, 2004). In high-speed rail this light flashing sequence can be a result of the interruption of sunlight by external objects such as poles or wires. It is therefore difficult to design against, however with an appropriate seating layout and the presence of blinds the discomfort can be
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