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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-96-014
Date: March 1998

Understanding Driver Performance Variability and Perception of Risk:

Driver Hazard Perception Research Plan



This report identifies a proposed comprehensive research program for defining, measuring, and quantifying driver perception of hazards as it relates to highway design, operations, and safety standards. Six research projects were proposed: (1) multivariate analysis of a specific traffic situation, (2) traffic operational factors, (3) driver awareness of hazards/hazardous operating conditions, (4) unintended consequences of highway improvements, (5) social context, and (6) engineering or roadway changes to increase driver hazard perception.

These projects will provide input to human factors safety handbooks and will result in guidelines, tools, and models by which highway design can be developed and evaluated.

Copies of this report can be obtained through the National Technical Information Set–vice (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161, telephone: (703) 487–4650, fax (703) 32l–8547. A.

George Ostensen, Director Office of Safety and Traffic Operations Research and Development


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1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle


5. Report Date

March 6, 1998

  6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Lerner, Neil; Benel, Denise; and Dekker, Debra

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

COMSIS Corporation
8737 Colesville Road, Suite 1100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


  11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety and Traffic Operations R&D
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101–2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

October 1992 – May– 1995

  14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) – M Joseph Moyer. HSR–30

16. Abstract

The objectives of this research project were to develop a comprehensive and clearly defined research program to define, measure. and quantify driver perception of hazards as it relates to highway design, operations. and safety, standards This was accomplished through a systematic research and development effort that defined six research projects. The Driver Hazard Perception Research Program broadly addresses how drivers perceive, interpret, and react to potential hazards on the road, and how this influences risk related vehicle control decisions about time, speed, and space. The results will provide input to human factors safety handbooks, such as the Human Factors Highway Safety Handbook for use by highway designers, and human performance driving models, such as the Driver Performance–Based Highway Design Module (DPB/HDM) that incorporates human factors data and driver behavior models. The sequence of projects provides: ( 1) a broad, empirical based understanding of the role of driver roadway hazard perception leading to driver action; (2) understanding of the safety consequences of these perceptions and actions: (3) Identification of causal factors influencing driver hazard perception; and (4) proposed countermeasures to improve driver hazard perception for benefits in safety and traffic operations.

17. Key Words

Hazard perception, driver performance variability, safety, research program, human factors.

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia, 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



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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101