Are Drivers with Experience Using Different Modes Better at Sharing the Road?

Research Team: Linda Hill (lead), Benjamin Bergen, Deborah Forster, and Colleen Emmenegger

Problem Statement: Crashes between cars and other road users (e.g., pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists) are increasing in frequency. Failure in hazard perception and avoidance has been identified as a primary cause, as has a lack of respect for other road users by drivers. At the same time, people are increasingly encouraged to diversify their travel modes. For example, to achieve California’s ambitious plan to double walking and triple bicycling trips by 2020, individuals who predominantly drive are being encouraged to consider cycling to work, taking transit, and/or walking. As drivers gain experience using different travel modes, there could be potential safety benefits for all road-users. However, there is little research in this area.

Project Description: This project will test the assumption that drivers who also engage in other types of road use (e.g., walking, biking, and taking transit) are more respectful and hazard-avoiding than car-limited drivers. The driving behavior of five driver types (i.e., car-limited drivers, and drivers who predominantly walk, bike, and electric-scooter or motorcycle) will be tested in a simulator to study the safety maneuvers of each driver to access if differences between the groups are measurable. Researchers will use a driving simulator that positions the hazards (other road users) and collects measures of driving patterns from twenty participants in each of five groups, for a total of 100 participants. Eye tracking devices and video recorders will contribute to the assessment of road safety behaviors. Qualitative interviews will assess changes in driving behavior after the simulator experience, as well as provide feedback on the simulation experience.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $89,925

Project Partner(s): San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)