The Effect of Roadside Vegetation and Clear Zone Design on Driver Behavior

Roadside vegetation provides numerous environmental and psychological benefits to drivers. Previous research has shown that natural landscapes can effectively lower crash rates and cause less stress and frustration to the driver. However, the same vegetation has the potential to increase the severity of resulting crashes. For example, run-off-the-road crashes resulting in a collision with a tree are twice as likely to result in a fatality. The nature of this contradiction underscores the need to examine behavioral and safety effects associated with the placement of vegetation within proximity to the roadway. This proposed research study will explore the relationship between the clear zone design and the presence of roadside vegetation on driver speed, lateral positioning, and hazard anticipation in a driving simulator environment. Additionally, field data and a crash data analysis will be integrated to validate the findings of the driving simulator study.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Project conducted at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)

    University of Iowa
    Iowa City, IA  United States  52242
  • Principal Investigators:

    Fisher, Donald

    Knodler, Michael

  • Start Date: 20140501
  • Expected Completion Date: 20151031
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160906
  • Source Data: RiP Project 36810

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01530318
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Safety Research Using Simulation University Transportation Center (SaferSim)
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC53
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 12 2014 1:01AM