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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-98-178
Date: June 26, 1998

Identification of Human Factors Research Needs - Final Report



As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT's) Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) program, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) investigated the human factors research needs for integrating in–vehicle safety and driver information technologies into usable systems that provide manageable information to the driver. The objective of the project was to help the U.S. DOT identify human factors issues that need to be resolved early in the life cycle of the IVI program to ensure safe and well–engineered vehicles.

The IVI has the potential to provide drivers with useful information for many driving conditions and situations; to improve driving performance; and, ultimately, to increase the mobility and safety of the entire driving public. The IVI clearly represents an increase in the number of displays and controls for the in–vehicle environment, with a concurrent increase in the amount and complexity of information presented to the driver. If human factors integration and design issues are not addressed throughout the development process for the Generation I IVI, there is a risk that this increase in information will lead to information overload, driver confusion, and actual decreases in driver performance and safety.

This project was comprised of two major activities: First, a Preliminary IVI Human Factors Technology Workshop was held in December 1997 to draw together the stakeholders in the IVI program (e.g., universities, automotive manufacturers, vendors, and contractors) to begin to define the technologies and the human factors issues that need to be considered in developing an IVI. Second, the project team investigated the preliminary infrastructure and human factors in–vehicle requirements for alternative configurations of an IVI. This paper addresses the data collected during the Human Factors IVI Workshop that served as a basis for the human factors research needs that were identified.

Summaries of the identified human factors research to–date and research needs were developed to reflect the current literature as well as the general consensus of human factors professionals' expert opinions. Current literature was acquired from: (1) the Battelle Human Factors Transportation Center's collection of literature, including books, journal articles, and conference proceedings; (2) publications lists from the FHWA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); and (3) literature searches using national databases. Expert opinions from human factors experts and other members of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) community were obtained at the Human Factors IVI Workshop.

To allow analysis of more complex IVI alternatives, the functional subsystems identified for the 26 User Services specified in the U.S. DOT Request for Information for the IVI program were combined into 7 Technology Modules. Each module was analyzed to determine high–priority human factors research that was needed to produce a safe–operating IVI. Previous human factors work applicable to each Technology Module was identified. Gaps in the previous human factors work for each Technology Module were identified as early human factors research needs for the IVI.

Five Candidate IVI Configurations were developed based on logical combinations of the seven Technology Modules. These Candidate Configurations represent basic and advanced safety and driver information functions in passenger cars, commercial trucks, and transit vehicles such as buses. Each Candidate Configuration was meant to provide clear safety benefits to the driver as well as a solid technical foundation for the system configurations for the IVI.

The five configurations are listed below:

  • Basic Collision Warning and Driver Information Systems.

  • Full-Coverage (360o) Collision Warning.

  • Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) Capabilities.

  • Integrated ITS Capabilities for Heavy Vehicles.

  • Integrated ITS Capabilities for Transit Vehicles.

The following conclusions were developed from this project:

  • Human factors research for the Generation I IVI should focus on the need to integrate and manage the information presented to the driver.

  • No publicly available human factors research has examined the effects of integrating multiple ITS devices into a vehicle as envisioned by the IVI.

  • Considerable human factors research has been conducted to support the development of individual User Services within the IVI.

  • A broad range of ITS technologies are available to support the development of a Generation I IVI prototype.

  • For the Generation II and III IVI, extensive algorithm/software, infrastructure, and specific technologies are needed.




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