Investigators

Michael A. Knodler, Jr., Ph.D
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Civil Engineering
Donald Fisher
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Industrial Engineering

Final Report

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Final Report Summary

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Project

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.

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