Assessing the Effect of Drivers’ Behavior in Rural Roads with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Using a Driving Simulator
Traffic crashes in rural roads are a serious safety related issue because of the disproportionality between fatalities and the rural population. As a result of this concern, the safety of rural roads has been the focus of attention in recent years. According to NHTSA, 45% of all traffic fatalities in 2018 occurred in rural areas, while having only 19% of the total population, according to the U.S. Census. This percentage of traffic fatalities in 2018 is more significant in Puerto Rico’s rural road network with an alarming 58% of all fatalities. Furthermore, the fatality rate in rural roads in Puerto Rico is estimated at 16.53 per 100-Million VMT, which is 6.2 times greater than the highest fatality rate of any state in the U.S.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in its Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative known as, FoRRRwD, recommends proven roadway departure countermeasures, such as rumble strips, friction treatments, and clear zones. However, additional countermeasures considering a systemic approach to rural highway safety, including speeding control, are needed. A possible systemic approach countermeasure could be Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), which includes vehicle-related safety measures based on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
This research project aims to assess the impact of implementing a Speed Monitoring Display (SMD), with and without voice messaging, as an ADAS strategy in a driving simulation study. The ADAS strategy will have the purpose of alerting “speeding” drivers in hazardous locations. High-risk roadway features will be identified from a representative rural road segment in Puerto Rico and used as a base condition to develop the simulation scenarios. The drivers’ behavior, including speed compliance, will be examined with and without the ADAS. The final goal will be to improve driver behavior in rural roads to improve safety using a systemic strategy to identify potential hazardous location that can assist in decreasing speeding related issues and reduce the frequency and severity of crashes.