Nav: Home

Using driving simulation to understand driver complacency at passive rail level crossings

July 17, 2018

In a new Human Factors article, researchers have shown that a validated advanced driving simulator is an effective tool for examining risky behavior at passive rail level crossings, where static signs alert drivers to stop. Such crossings have been the scene of significant global fatalities, but studying driver behavior in the real world to make them safer is not practical - hence the need for simulation.

Grégoire Larue, PhD, and colleagues from QUT's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland (CARRS-Q) observed speed of approach to, and stopping compliance with, the passive rail level crossing on an actual road with real drivers. Pneumatic tubes were laid on the road at varying distances to detect speed. In addition, using CARRS-Q's Advanced Driving Simulator, the researchers observed participants driving a simulated rural route that mimicked the actual site and similar day-time driving conditions. Larue et al. induced complacency in the simulator to match that of the actual road users, who were used to the relatively small chance of encountering a train at the crossing.

The results showed that actual drivers stopped or almost stopped less often than simulator drivers and were much more likely to make no attempt to stop at all, demonstrating their higher level of complacency due to familiarity. These findings are consistent with prior studies, although this is likely the first simulator study to focus on passive rail level crossings.

Evidence that the findings validate the use of an advanced driving simulator is proven by the fact that for both actual and simulated driving, the approach speed profile and speed changes at similar locations followed the same decreasing trend.

Validated simulator studies can reveal hazards for which designers can introduce interventions to increase safety on the road. "A range of driver behavior issues can be evaluated using simulators, from errors to actual violations," the authors note. "Without validation, findings from simulator studies may not translate to real roads, and this could result in limited funds being wasted on ineffective interventions or, worse, on interventions that increase risks on the road."

Larue commented, "Replicating and extending previous driving simulator studies is fundamental for reinforcing the body of knowledge on the validity and limitations of driving simulators and, consequently, for developing effective road safety interventions. This study participates in that vision, beyond its specific focus on rail level crossings."
-end-
To obtain a copy of "Validation of a Driving Simulator Study on Driver Behavior at Passive Rail Level Crossings" for media-reporting purposes, please contact HFES Communications Director Lois Smith (310/394-1811).

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,500 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. "Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering."

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Related Interventions Articles:

Social network interventions can lead to potential health benefits
Social network interventions can have a significant effect on a range of health behaviors and outcomes both in the short and long term, according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Ruth Hunter of Queen's University Belfast, UK, and colleagues.
Review: Post opioid-overdose interventions emerge in US
Opioid-related deaths continue to take the lives of thousands in the US each year, with non-fatal opioid overdoses as a significant risk factor for a subsequent fatal overdose.
Feasibility of antimicrobial stewardship interventions in community hospitals
This study evaluated whether implementing two antimicrobial stewardship interventions (pharmacist approval to continue antibiotic use after the first dose and pharmacist engagement with the prescriber about antibiotic appropriateness after 72 hours of treatment) were feasible in community hospitals.
Interventions for type 2 diabetes successful across the genetic landscape
Researchers find the quality of dietary fat consumed and the genetic risk of diabetes work independently of each other, and that a diet rich in polyunsaturated fats can be safely applied across the spectrum of type 2 diabetes genetic risk.
Interventions with paclitaxel drug-coated balloons
This PCR statement on paclitaxel drug-coated balloons (DCB) use in peripheral interventions addresses the controversy raised by the meta-analysis of K.
More Interventions News and Interventions Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...