Investigating the Effect of Roadway Design on Driver Behavior

Principal Investigator:

John Carmody, Director Campus/College level, Center for Sustainable Building Research

Co-Investigator

Project Summary:

There are a number of roadway settings where drivers must adjust their speed and alignment. These places often represent the locations where the greatest safety hazards and accident rates occur. Examples are freeway off-ramps, transition zones between highways and local roads, converging traffic lanes, and work zones. Normally, road signs are used as the main visual information to influence the driver. However, the elements of the roadway environment (i.e. retaining walls, noise barriers, guardrails, trees, and lighting) also give visual cues about speed and alignment. This project uses the wrap-around driving simulator at the Human Factors Research Laboratory to test drivers' reactions to a number of visual patterns in these roadway settings. The goal is to determine which visual patterns hinder or assist drivers in reading the roadway so they can properly adjust speed and alignment.

Sponsor:

Project Details: