Driver adaptation to changes in road environment
Tay, Suet Ki
Date of Issue2017-05-19
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Centre for Infrastructure Systems
Human behavioural factors have been found to be a major contributor to traffic crashes. Driving tasks such as speed regulation and hazard recognition are excellent evaluative tools to assess driver behaviour. Having excellent driving skill and responding well to hazards will help to minimise driver’s crash involvement. Literature research revealed that though factors such as age, gender and driving experience play an important role in determining driver behaviour, external factors in the road environment also have huge effects on driver behaviour. Most relevant studies have been done overseas. Thus, this study aims to investigate the relationship between driver behaviour and the surrounding road environment on Singapore roads using a driving simulator. Forty consenting male and female young participants with valid driving licences were randomly recruited to participate in a two-hour long simulated driving experiment. The participants went through three sessions of virtual driving course in a simulator placed in the laboratory. The first and second sessions assessed changes in driver behaviour due to a difference in lane width while the third session assessed participants’ risk perception in various hazardous traffic scenarios. Experimental data for three driver behaviour indicators (i.e. speed control, lateral position, driver’s response latency) were extracted and analysed. Results obtained show that variations in the road environment have a marginal impact on driver behaviour. Narrow lane is perceived to be more dangerous and thus should be associated with a smaller lateral offset and lower speed. However, in this study, higher speed and smaller lateral position were observed in the narrower lane. Differences between both the average speed and lateral position of participants in both wider and narrower lane are found to be statistically insignificant at 0.05 level. Hence, future researches are recommended to experiment with a greater range of road width which will certainly increase participant’s explicit awareness of the changes. It is also observed that criticality of the hazards affects drivers’ response latencies such that their reaction time in scenarios involving vehicle-vehicle collision were consistently found to be shorter than those that involved vehicle-pedestrian collision as consequences of collision with vehicles are perceived to be more critical. However, when the analysis is done to compare scenarios involving the same type of hazard but of different level of expectancy in the events, inconsistent observations were found across the different types of hazard. Future researches are recommended to conduct further experiment on the same topic but with more scenarios involving the same types of hazard so as to obtain a more significant conclusion.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University