Factors Influencing Visual Search in Complex Driving Environments

Research on distracted driving has primarily focused on in-vehicle distractions including texting and cell phone use, "infotainment" navigation and audio systems, and other in-vehicle devices. Human factors engineering, which attempts to account for the capabilities and limitations of drivers, promises to provide ways to improve safety by designing more forgiving systems and environments. Successful human factors engineering requires a multi-disciplinary understanding of human perception, cognition, and the associated response factors. By understanding the driver's perception of the environment, engineers can make informed design changes to operational environments (such as temporary workzone areas and approaches) and reduce the potential for driver confusion, thus improving safety for both workers and drivers. The central focus of this research is to identify changes in the visual search patterns of drivers as environments become more complex. Specifically, the project will look to evaluate response patterns for drivers as they approach a temporary workzone area in which traffic flow has been altered from the 'normal' pattern by the use of traffic control devices. The study results will allow engineering guidelines for the use of these traffic control devices to be developed, improved and refined and thereby enhance the safe passage of vehicles through these proven dangerous locations. The overarching objective of this project is to evaluate the impact of visual scene complexity on driver behavior and to recommend improved methods to convey appropriate information to the driver. The study will initially be restricted to a simulated freeway environment focusing on interchanges and ramps with and without work zones.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avneue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Central Florida, Orlando

    P.O. Box 25000
    Orlando, FL  United States  32816

    Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

    School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Atlanta, GA  United States  30332
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hunter, Michael

  • Start Date: 20121001
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150831
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33715

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01640919
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Transportation Systems Productivity and Management
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12GUTC12, A0-UTC-076
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 13 2017 1:01AM