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Response to automatic speed control in urban areas:\ud A simulator study.

By S.L. Comte


Speed affects both the likelihood and severity of an accident. Attempts to reduce speed have centred around road design and traffic calming, enforcement and feedback techniques and public awareness campaigns. However, although these techniques have met with some success, they can be both costly and context specific. No single measure has proved to be a generic countermeasure effective in reducing speed, leading to the suggestion that speed needs to be controlled at the source, i.e. within the vehicle. An experiment carried out on the University of Leeds Advanced Driving Simulator evaluated the effects of speed limiters on driver behavionr. Safety was measured using following behaviour, gap acceptance and traffic violations, whilst subjective mental workload was recorded using the NASA RTLX. It was found that although safety benefits were observed in terms of lower speeds, longer headways and fewer traffic light violations, drivers compensated for loss of time by exhibiting riskier gap acceptance behaviour and delayed braking behaviour. When speed limited, drivers' self-reports indicated that their driving performance improved and less physical effort was required, but that they also experienced increases in feelings of frustration and time pressure. It is discussed that there is a need for a total integrated assessment of the long term effects of speed limiters on safety, costs, energy, pollution, noise, in addition to investigation of issues of acceptability by users and car manufacturers

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 1996
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