Driving simulator research on safe highway design and operation
van der Horst, A.R.A.
With increasing traffic demands and various attempts to get maximum performance out of the road traffic system, the driving task is becoming more and more complex, and the more important it is to consider the human factor in highway design and operation. Successful introduction of new driver support systems, dynamic traffic management systems, or complex road designs depends strongly on how people are able and willing to cope with these developments. Knowledge is needed on how people behave and perform in complex and dynamic task environments. Following a brief description of available driving simulator facilities at TNO in the Netherlands, this paper presents research on human behavior that makes use of advanced human-in-the-loop driving simulators for highway design and operation. A study on the acceptable length of contraflow systems in work zones revealed that a 3-1 contraflow system with a 2.75-m lane width would be acceptable up to 8 km in length. For the Westerschelde tunnel in the Netherlands, a traffic management evacuation scheme of diverting left lanes is much more effective than stopping all traffic in the secure tunnel tube. Given a speed limit of 80 km/h, a 5.4-m-wide single-lane tunnel tube is an acceptable solution, but drivers prefer a wider cross section (6.5 m). Lane departure warning assistant systems improve truck driving behavior on narrow lanes, but at a cost of more strenuous driving. These examples clearly illustrate the added value of driving simulator research for safe and efficient highway design and operation.
To reference this document use:
PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems
BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences
Transportation Research Record (2248), 87-95