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Human factors in road traffic Hossein Naraghi CE 590 Special Topics Safety February 2003 Time Spent: 9 hrs.

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Presentation on theme: "Human factors in road traffic Hossein Naraghi CE 590 Special Topics Safety February 2003 Time Spent: 9 hrs."— Presentation transcript:

1 Human factors in road traffic Hossein Naraghi CE 590 Special Topics Safety February 2003 Time Spent: 9 hrs

2 Human in the road traffic system Vital inputs to much of the road and traffic engineering system Human performance Human capabilities Behavioral characteristics

3 Human in the road traffic system(Continued) Problems of younger drivers Difficulty in judging speed, distance and reaction time Tend to concentrate on near objects Missing the important information, because its relevance is not understood Having poor perception of how hazardous a situation can become

4 Human in the road traffic system(Continued) Fixating the eyes on an object for a longer period Having difficulty in integrating information Under-estimating the risk of accident involvement Making less effective driving decisions

5 Human in the road traffic system(Continued) Problems of older drivers Difficulties in rapid decision making At intersections Take time to absorb traffic control information Difficulty at night Lower light level Headlight glare Readily fatigued

6 Human in the road traffic system(Continued) Older drivers are not over-represented in crashes Tend to make adjustments in behavior Speed Route of travel Avoid congested areas Seeking longer gaps in traffic Time of day driving

7 Human performance Three key aspects of human performance Information processing Visual characteristics Information needs

8 Information processing Driving task Comprising three essential tasks Navigation Trip planning and route following Guidance Following the road Maintaining a safe path Control Steering speed

9 Information processing (continued) Some problems arising from both capabilities of drivers and interfaces between driver and other components of the road traffic system in sequence of driving task Inadequate or insufficient input available for that task Difficulty to handle extreme inputs or uncommon events Process inputs too slowly When become overloaded,drivers shed part of the input demand to deal with the more important

10 Information processing (continued) Human beings have essentially a single channel mind They must divide attention while driving and process information sequentially If the rate at which decisions need to be made (rate of input) exceeds the driver’s capability (maximum rate of output), the resulting stress could cause an error which may in turn lead to a crash

11 Information processing (continued) The road traffic system should encourage the driver to shed the information which is not immediately relevant to the driving task Listening to the radio Looking at scenery Engaging in conversation There is a need to have a balance between input and output based on the human capabilities e.g. discard irrelevant tasks if a new task is interposed

12 Information processing (continued) Drivers can be assisted to adjust their driving performance Provide trend information Series of signs on an approach to a freeway ramp Provide advance warning Directional instruction Avoid sudden imposition of demand Speed limit signs not at intersection itself Limit the amount of information on signs Signs which requires a series of simple decisions rather than a single complex decision Usefully controlled turns at traffic signals, rather than requiring drivers to select gaps in oncoming traffic

13 Driver expectancy Three types of driver expectancy Continuation expectancy Events of the immediate past will continue Road markings Event expectancy Events which have not happened will not happen Disregard of railway crossings Disregard minor intersections Temporal expectancy In cyclic events, the longer a given state occurs, the greater the likelihood that change will occur Traffic signals

14 Driver expectancy(continued) Traffic design should consider driver expectancies Drivers tend to anticipate common events The more predictable, the less chance for error Experiencing problems when surprised Drivers assume that they need to react to standard situations Drivers experience problems in locations with inconsistent design or operation

15 Reaction time Reaction time involves four elements 1. Perception See visual signal 2. Identification Identify signal 3. Emotion Take action in response to stimulus 4. Volition Execute the action

16 Reaction time(continued) Ways to reduce the average and variance of reaction time Encourage familiarity Minimize number of alternatives Provide positive information Provide prior warning Provide clear sight distance Use symbolic signs

17 Reaction time(continued) Implications of hysteretic effect for traffic design The ability to process information may be lower on the departure side of an intersection than the approach side Higher pedestrian crash rates on the downstream side of intersections can be explained Pedestrian crossings and bus stops should not be placed immediately downstream of an uncontrolled intersection

18 Visual characteristics Visual field Eye and head movement Maximum possible rate of about 4 fixation per second 2 fixation per second usual max rate for a busy driver fixation per second for normal driving Illumination Human visual system range of illumination From 0.75x10^-6cd/m^2 to 10 ^5cd/m^2 A range from darkest to brightest varying by a factor of 10^11

19 Visual characteristics(continued) Visual disabilities About 2.5 percent of adult male population has color impaired vision Can not discriminate red, yellow and green Blurred vision Visual sensitivity declines with age Detection threshold of elderly drivers is about double that of younger drivers

20 Visual characteristics(continued) About 90% information used by driver is visual Visual field is quite narrow (-3 to 10 degrees) Sign and signals within 10 to 12 degrees of the line of sight can be seen and understood Objects can be detected in peripheral vision to 90 degrees left and right at rest At speed of 20 mph and 60 mph, the visual field decreases to 100 and 40 degrees respectively compared to 180 degrees at rest

21 Visual characteristics(continued) Important findings relevant to design of traffic signals on top Signal lanterns should be located in a standard fashion, with red on top, yellow in the middle and green at the bottom The intensity of traffic signals, and the actual colors used need to be closely specified Theses consideration also affect the sign of traffic signs and the letters on them

22 Information needs of road users The key needs of road users in relation to traffic control information are: Conspicuity Signal must be seen Legibility It’s message must be readable Comprehensibility Message must be understood Creditability Message must perceived to be true

23 Information needs of road users (continued) Conspicuity is affected by several factors Size (larger more conspicuous) Brightness (brighter more conspicuous) Boldness (larger letters more conspicuous) Edge sharpness (a line around edge of a sign) Contrast (high contrast, especially in brightness) Visual simplicity (simple background more conspicuous Eccentricity A signal is unlikely to be detected if it is more than 6-7 degrees from the line of sight

24 Information needs of road users (continued) Implications of conspicuity factors that affect traffic engineering and road safety practice Influence on the size, color, layout and location of traffic signs Legislation for control of roadside advertising Reflector signs and pavement markings Illumination of signs (especially direction sign) Roadwork signing and work site protection Promotion of safety yellow raincoats for pedestrians and brightly colored for road maintenance crews

25 Information needs of road users (continued) Sign legibility A sign is legible if it has enough detail and sufficient visibility to allow its message to be interpreted Increasing the size will increase the legibility distance and give driver more opportunity to observe and understand the sign Sign comprehensibility Driver must perceive the importance of the signal

26 Information needs of road users (continued) Sign credibility Drivers believe that a signal is both true and refers to them Traffic engineers can aid credibility of signs Ensure that the sign is credible in its context Ensure that sign selection, color and shape conform with national standard Avoid the unnecessary use of signs Avoid unnecessary restrictive signs Important messages should adequately displayed Speed limit repeater signs Advance direction signing should be consistent and prominent


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