Practical reasons like limited resources and environmental limitations inhibit the design of the road infrastructure in such a manner that drivers always intuitively chose an adequate (safe) speed. Motivational factors like time pressure, wanting to arrive early, sensation seeking etc. contribute to this. However, in many cases an incorrect evaluation of the situation is crucial to this misinterpretation, which is probably due to insufficient information. From this background it is important to examine how to improve the situation assessment and thus influence speed choice in a positive manner.
The dissertation project develops concepts for a human-machine-interface based on knowledge about psychological mechanisms of speed regulation. One will probably have to provide additional information so that the driver better understands the necessity of adapting his or her speed (cognitive approach). It will be at least as important to support speed choice by an adequate presentation of information. As the drivers mostly adapt their speed subconsciously to the difficulty of the current traffic situation (e.g., Fuller, 2001), one could try to provide a feedback and information in such a manner that the driver automatically and subconsciously adapts his or her speed in the intended manner. The aim of the dissertation project is thus to investigate how to provide feedback (different modalities, different signals, different kinds of information) which enables the driver to follow an intended speed profile efficiently and in an acceptable manner. At the same time, the active variation of different kinds of feedback and the measurement of behavioral effects in the driving simulator will improve the understanding of the underlying psychological mechanisms.
Researcher: Frederik Schewe, M.Sc.