Driver Performance During 511 Information Retrieval

Principal Investigator(s):

Nic Ward, Former U of M Researcher, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

As a logical and necessary extension of previous research, this study aimed to assess the risk of cell phone use for traveler information applications, particularly the use of Minnesota's 511 interactive voice response (IVR) menu. First, detailed usage, utility, and usability evaluations of the MN511 were conducted. The goal of this design was to help harmonize the transfer of knowledge between access methods while also easing implementation concerns for the MN511 developers. Next, a simulated driving experiment was conducted with the goal of discovering whether using an IVR menu leads to more risky driving behavior compared to driving while not accessing a menu. It also allowed the researchers to see if changing the MN511 menu might affect driver performance. While using both phone menus, drivers seemed to compensate for the additional mental workload by delaying their reactions until they felt comfortable taking action. There were no differences between the two menu types for the majority of driving performance measures. The report addresses issues with the 511 IVR menus identified during the study and offers recommendations for future development.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2006028
  • Start date: 02/2006
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety

Reports or Products: