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600451-00103-1 Report Abstract

Effect of Changing Driving Conditions on Driver Behavior Towards Design of a Safe and Efficient Traffic System

Fereydoun Aghazadeh, Laura Hughes Ikuma and Sherif Ishak, December, 2013

This simulation-based study explores the effects of different work zone configurations, varying distances between traffic signs, traffic density and individual differences on drivers’ behavior. Conventional Lane Merge (CLM) and Joint Lane Merge (JLM) were modeled in a driving simulator and thirty participants (seven female and 23 male students) navigated through the two configurations with two levels of traffic density and in three different conditions: a) standard sign distance, b) 25% reduction, and c) 25% increase in the distance between traffic signs in the advance warning zone. Information regarding travel time, speed, braking force and location of merge was collected through the simulator. Self-reported measures of mental demand, physical demand, temporal demand, performance, effort, frustration and total workload were recorded from all participants by using the NASA TLX. The results show that, on average, driving through the JLM took 18.8% longer than the CLM. Moreover, no significant difference in speed was found between the two merge configurations. However, the percent maximum braking force was34% lower in the JLM configuration. The comparison of two merge configurations with respect to the location of changing lanes suggest that overall, the JLM configuration encourages drivers to remain in the closed lane longer. The analysis of self-reported workload ratings shows that participants reported 15.3% lower total workload and 18.8% higher performance when driving through the JLM. Moreover, mental demand, temporal demand, effort and frustration were lower in JLM by 16.4%, 23.4%, 13.7% and 28%, respectively. In terms of self-reported workload, the JLM is more conducive to driving. In conclusion, the JLM outperforms the CLM.

Keywords: Work Zone, Joint Merge Configuration, Driver Behavior

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.9 MB)