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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-08-019
Date: November 2007

Development of a Driver Vehicle Module (DVM) for the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM)

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Table of Contents


The Driver Vehicle Module (DVM) is a software tool that allows traffic engineers and highway designers to evaluate how a driver would operate a vehicle within the context of a specific roadway design and to identify whether conditions exist within that design that could result in loss of vehicle control. It was developed as a candidate evaluation module for the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM).

The DVM couples a vehicle dynamics model with a computational model of driver behavior. This model of driver behavior aims to simulate the driver's perceptual, cognitive, and control processes to generate steering, braking, and throttle vehicle inputs. It was primarily developed based on driver performance data collected during on-road instrumented vehicle driving sessions.

The development of this tool is part of an ongoing effort to increase the ability of traffic engineers and highway designers to provide a safer driving environment for the public.

Michael Trentacoste

Director, Office of Safety Research & Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Development of a Driver Vehicle Module (DVM) for the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM)

5. Report Date

November 2007

6. Performing Organization Code:

7. Author(s)

William H. Levison, John L. Campbell, Kelli Kludt, Alvah C. Bittner, Jr., Ingrid Potts, Douglas W. Harwood, Jessica Hutton, David Gilmore, J. Gavin Howe, Jeffrey P. Chrstos, R. Wade Allen, Barry Kantowitz, Tom Robbins, and Chris Schreiner

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Battelle, Center for Human Performance and Safety 1100 Dexter Avenue N, Suite 400 Seattle, WA 98109

10. Work Unit No.

11. Contract or Grant No.

12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Research and Technology Services Federal Highway Administration 6300 Georgetown Pike McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report, May 2004 to December 2007

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

16. Abstract

The Federal Highway Administration is currently developing an integrated set of software tools to improve highway design, the Interactive Highway Safety Design Model (IHSDM). The IHSDM is a suite of software analysis tools for evaluating safety and operational effects of geometric design decisions on two-lane rural highways. The IHSDM provides highway project planners, designers, and reviewers in State and local departments of transportation and engineering consulting firms with a suite of safety evaluation tools to support these assessments. As currently implemented in the latest public release version, the IHSDM includes the following five components: (1) Policy Review Module, (2) Design Consistency Module, (3) Crash Prediction Module, (4) Traffic Analysis Module, and (5) Intersection Review Module. A sixth module, the Driver Vehicle Module (DVM), is a candidate for future release.

This report provides a complete technical description of the DVM. Specifically, it provides a description of the specification, verification, and calibration/validation of the DVM for the passenger vehicle and the heavy vehicle component, along with additional functionality enhancements.

17. Key Words

Driver/Vehicle Module, IHSDM, Driver Performance Model

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)

Reproduction of completed page authorized

Metric Conversion Chart

Table of Contents



    Purpose and Organization of this Report



    Purpose and Structure



    Components of the module

    Roadway Geometry

    Driver Geometrics


    Path Decision

    Path Control

    Speed Decision

    Speed Control

    Vehicle Dynamics Model (VDM)

    General Specifications

    Halt Simulation upon Vehicle Rollover

    Definition of Off-road Condition

    Treatment of Curves that are Close Together

    Specification for Modifying the Developmental DVM

    Additions to the Output Data File

    User-Programmed Controls

    DVM parameters that are Selectable

    Options Selectable by the User

    Options Selectable by the System Administrator





    Speed Decision

    Speed Control

    Path Decision

    Path Control

    Output Data Processing

    Test Software Implementation for the Heavy Vehicle.




    Calibration/Validation of the Passenger Vehicle

    Calibration/Validation Methods


    Parameters for the Passenger Car Driver

    Calibration/Validation of the Heavy Vehicle


    Test Route

    On-Road Data

    Calibration/Validation Methods


    Recommended Values for Driver Parameters

    Validation of Vehicle Dynamics Model for Heavy Vehicle


    Key DVM Application Constraints

    Additional Model Enhancements

    Cruise Control and Compound Curves

    Driver Behavior on Short Tangents

    Horizontal Sight-Distance Limitations

    More Flexible Model for Curve Cutting

    Effects of Driver Eye Height and Grade Differences on Curvature Estimation

    Driver Expectation

    Additional User Interface Enhancements

    Enhance the DVM Output Information so that it Better Conforms to End-user needs

    Develop New Measures of Effectiveness (MOEs) Based on Degree of Speed Change and Available SD

    Add the ability to compare time histories from multiple model runs on the same graph

    Recommendations for Using the DVM

    Future R&D Recommendations for the DVM



List of Figures

Figure 1. Information flow in the Driver Vehicle Model

Figure 2. Flow diagram of the computation of perceptual estimates

Figure 3. Diagram of the assumed path through a horizontal curve

Figure 4. Pseudo-code for calculating path decision

Figure 5. Flow diagram of an approximation to the path-regulation task

Figure 6. Simplified flow diagram of the speed decision logic

Figure 7. Pseudo-code for calculating speed control

Figure 8. Effects of posted speed on predicted speed profile

Figure 9. Speed profile for approach, negotiation, and exit of simple curve

Figure 10. Speed profile for closely-spaced reverse curve

Figure 11. Effect of grade changes on model predictions: Pedal deflection

Figure 12. Effect of grade changes on model predictions: speed

Figure 13. Effect of lane-keeping assumption on predicted lane deviation

Figure 14. X/Y plot of test route

Figure 15. Vertical profile

Figure 16. Mean first and last speed profiles

Figure 17. Road curvature

Figure 18. Mean speed profile for four drivers

Figure 19. Mean +/- standard deviation of driver means

Figure 20. Predicted speed profile when reducing the lateral acceleration factor to 20

List of Tables

Table 1. Major roadway model elements used by the roadway geometrics component

Table 2. Standard driver configurations

Table 3. Array of posted speeds

Table 4. Properties of the simulated reverse curve

Table 5. Simulated grade profile

Table 6. Results of validation testing for the tests of critical assumption

Table 7. Results of validation testing for the tests of real-world predictive abilities

Table 8. Parameter values for two driver types

Table 9. Parameters of curves selected for estimating statistics of the lateral acceleration factor

Table 10. Replications of on-road data used for model analysis

Table 11. Summary of validation results for the heavy vehicle

Table 12. Parameters related to driver preference

Table 13. Initial list of DVM output improvements

Table 14. Sample presentation of alert levels

Table 15. Specifications for providing output comparisons

List of Abbreviations and Symbols

CR county route
DCM Design Consistency Module
DOT Department of Transportation
DVM Driver Vehicle Module
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
GPS Global Positioning System
IHSDM Interactive Highway Safety Design Model
MOE measure of effectiveness
PC point of curvature
PDF power density function
PT point of tangency
sd standard deviation
SD sight distance
SR state route
STI Systems Technology, Inc.
URA user requirements analysis
VDANL vehicle dynamics analysis, non linear
VDM Vehicle Dynamics Model
VPI vertical point of intersection
VRTC Vehicle Research Test Center
VTTI Virginia Tech Transportation Institute


United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration