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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-96-177
Date: October 1997

Development of Human Factors Guidelines for Advanced Traveler Information Systems and Commercial Vehicle Operations: Definition and Prioritization of Research Studies



The goal of the activities documented in this report was to produce a prioritized list of candidate studies and issues that would guide data acquisition in this project. This goal was accomplished in three steps. First, 91 issues were compiled from earlier research in this effort. The 91 issues were organized into the following 11 categories:

  • Coordination of multiple Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) functions.
  • Driver function and information requirements.
  • Reliability, timing, and priority of information.
  • Interface form and modality.
  • Timesharing, attention, and workload.
  • Effect of ATIS on driving performance.
  • Driver Acceptance.
  • Navigation and route selection strategies.
  • Training and education.
  • Design and presentation of human factors design guidelines.
  • Research strategies and methods.

Second, a set of 14 criteria, 9 substantive and 5 methodological, were defined. Rating criteria included five recommended by ITS America (congestion, safety, mobility, environment and economic) relevance to existing data, guidelines, older drivers and younger drivers. In addition, three potential methodologies (laboratory, field, and survey) were rated on dimensions of cost, time, practicality, generality, and overall suitability. Eight experienced human factors experts completed all 2,184 cells in a rating matrix for a total of 17,472 rating entries in the data set.

Third, a linear psychometric model was used to prioritize the 91 issues. The model was validated by sending the raters three short prioritized lists: List A contained the highest rated 16 issues for the entire data set; List B contained the highest rated 16 issues based only on the data for the individual rater, and List C contained a stratified random sample of 16 candidate issues. issues. Raters were asked to delete unimportant and impractical research issues from these lists. They deleted significantly more items from the random list, demonstrating that the prioritized list was valid.

The final prioritized list contained the 9 most vital studies/issues followed by the 12 most important remaining studies/issues. The nine vital issues are:

  • Cognitive demands in transitioning across ATIS functions.
  • Complex interactions among ATIS functions.
  • How In–Vehicle Signing Information Systems (ISIS) and In–Vehicle Safety Advisory and Warning Systems (IVSAWS) information influences behavior.
  • Effects of low information reliability.
  • Displaying multiple messages.
  • Features requiring standardization.
  • Single versus multiple display channels.
  • Multimodal displays.
  • Effects of display modality and format on Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) driver workload.

The 12 most important remaining studies/issues:

  • How specific information needs vary as a function of driver characteristics.
  • Information drivers need and want from ISIS and IVSAWS.
  • CVO needs for situations as local vs long distance, urban vs rural, and emergency response vs commercial.
  • Timing of ISIS and IVSAWS information influence driver reaction.
  • Assess fatigue and driver performance.
  • Information display and emergency response dispatches.
  • Display design and the dynamic allocation of driver visual and cognitive resources.
  • Type of information using a head–up display (HUD) and cognitive attention to the roadway.
  • The effect of in–vehicle information and compensatory driving actions.
  • The effect of information reliability and inaccuracies on driver acceptance and use.
  • The structure of design guidelines most helpful to designers in addressing human factors issues.

This report documents the evaluation of human factors issues uncovered in the analytic segment of this effort. Filtering all the results to obtain a prioritized list of key research topics was not a simple task. Producing the final list required a psychometric analysis of 17,472 data points generated by 8 human factors experts. Analyzing a set of issues that has already been selected from a very large set of reports is technically difficult, because the selected issues form a narrow range of items: inappropriate items have already been weeded out by the selection process itself. Nevertheless, the validation study showed that this psychometric analysis was successful. Thus, we can have great confidence that the final prioritized list is well–suited to guide future research. The key issues listed here must be addressed if human factors as a discipline is to make a substantial technical contribution to the development of ATIS and CVO components of ITS.




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