Driving Simulators for Virtual Road Safety Audits
Road safety audits (RSAs) are becoming more prevalent as a low cost, pro-active approach to designing and maintaining roadways. A typical RSA is performed to explicitly check the safety aspects of a road by an independent group of experts from different disciplines during any part of the life of the road (feasibility, project assessment, final design, pre-opening, and existing). A number of challenges exist with the RSA process, especially when auditing existing elements of the transportation system. Specifically, RSAs do not capture the dynamics of driving, along with an evaluation of driver comprehension and driver behavior, critical components that must be evaluated when a safety problem exists. Driving simulators may provide the tool needed to add the dynamic and human factors components to the RSA process. The objectives of the proposed research are to demonstrate the use of a driving simulator for conducting virtual road safety audits (VRSAs) and study how VRSA can supplement traditional RSA.