Human factors evaluation of the Delco RDS radio receiver and the RDS architecture


Max Burrus, Sara Johnson, Gayna Williams, Stirling Stackhouse

August 1994

Report no. Mn/DOT 1995-01

This report presents the results of a one year comprehensive human factors analysis on the prototype Delco RDS device supplied by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. RDS devices provide a means of transmitting traffic information to motorist using the existing Traffic Management Center's resources. This study examined the devices and the means of transmitting information using ergonomicand human factors principles. This study expanded upon the functions of these devices and their ability to transmit information, as well as their integration within the automobile. The study was completed by examining the data entry tasks required to transmit messages and the TMC's operations as pertaining to messages and delivery to the end-users. Five tasks were completed with the following findings: Ergonomically, the prototype device requires further refinement to provide a user friendly interface. Linkage analysis and flow charting extracted areas where operations of the device was impeded by design. Simulation and on-road study elicited difficulty in operating the device while maintaining driving proficiency. Highly significant deviations were found between normal driving behavior and driving performance when simultaneously operating the device. This suggests an increase in attentional demand which is placed on the driver operating the device when they should be focused on the task of driving. Finally, assessment of data entry personnel and the TMC operations found several areas for improvement in the CrusaderTM message assembly program interfaceand message content.Recommendations are provided following each task.

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