On 16 December 2014 TRAIL PhD student Malte Risto will defend his thesis ‘Cooperative In-Vehicle Advice’ at the University of Twente.
Cooperative In-Vehicle Advice: Short summary
Congestion is a major problem in today’s society, associated with high economic costs due to lost productivity hours, environmental pollution, higher accident risk, and increased vehicle operating cost. The behaviour of the human driver influences the onset of congestion by either increasing traffic demand, temporarily reducing road capacity or causing traffic flow disturbances. Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems promise to make road transport more efficient by sharing information and managing traffic. To achieve this goal these systems are often designed to take over parts of the driving task from the driver. However, they face technical, legal and human factors issues that make their implementation in the near future less likely.
A near term alternative to automated systems are systems that improve driver behaviour by providing information and advice to drivers. The present thesis describes the human factors research during the development of a Cooperative In-Vehicle Advice (CIVA) system, that advises drivers about their tactical driving behaviour (that is speed, gap, and lane choice) in order to improve traffic flow efficiency in dense traffic on motorways. The system will not take over control of the vehicle. Therefore, the effect that CIVA will have on traffic flow will depend on the drivers’ ability and willingness to follow the advice messages. The studies in this thesis were developed to provide contributions to answering the following questions:
Are drivers able to follow CIVA?
Are drivers willing to follow CIVA?
Are drivers willing to adopt the CIVA system?
Data to answer these questions was obtained in a survey among potential users, several driving simulator experiments and a study in real world motorway traffic. Several different advice formulations were tested during the study. Results demonstrate that drivers are generally able to follow tactical driver advice that is aimed at improving traffic flow in peak hour motorway traffic. Several factors were identified that may reduce drivers’ willingness to follow the advice and to adopt the system. Accurate information about upcoming traffic situations was perceived as valuable by drivers and can be used to improve the acceptance of the system as well as compliance with the advice. More research is needed to achieve a better understanding of the benefit for the individual driver as well as for the collective road users that can be gained from using the system.