"Impact of In-Vehicle Guidance Technologies on Driver Distraction"
Fries used his Urban Research Scholar award to hire the Graduate Research Assistant (and co-author, Mostafa Reisi-Gahrooei):
Abstract of Study Findings:
A recent trend in transportation engineering has been integrating roadside technologies with those inside vehicles. This trend is called vehicle infrastructure integration or VII. Although the overarching purpose of VII is to increase road efficiency and safety, in-vehicle systems such as warning and guidance systems can lead to driver distraction and possibly crashes, particularly in urban areas. Unfortunately, little is known about how much driver attention is required by these devices in different driving environments.
This research study investigated the impact of in-vehicle route guidance systems on driver distraction using a state-of-the-art driver simulator in the Civil Engineering Department at SIUE. Twenty one participants between the ages of 18-25 volunteered to drive the simulated urban courses and answered a brief survey before and after the experiment.
The findings indicate that vehicle guidance software does not significantly distract drivers more than manually searching for road name signs. The findings also revealed that using voice navigation tools caused participants to drive faster and with less variance, indicating they were more confident in their ability to find their destination. Additionally, participants without any navigation help did not drive as straight within their lanes, as indicated by a higher lateral variance than those using voice guidance software. Further investigation is required to identify which of these two scenarios poses a more significant safety risk for road users.
These findings indicate that there is significant potential for advancing in-vehicle guidance technology, particularly those integrating with the roadside infrastructure in urban areas. Results also suggest there is a relation between the road segment level of service and the effectiveness of route guidance systems. Findings from this study will assist the researchers in obtaining external funding to support a broader study on integrating these guidance systems with urban roadside transportation technologies.