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Human Factors Home | News - Announcements | History | Research Tools | Publications and Articles | Videos | Team Members

This image shows Human Factors Team Leader, David Yang, talking to men and women a group of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) employees standing in the room.

Human Factors Team Hosts Highway Driving Simulator Open House

On May 5th 2016, the Human Factors team at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) hosted the Highway Driving Simulator (HDS) Open House. The HDS Cab was recently upgraded. TFHRC staff, FHWA leadership, and other offices within the Department of Transportation attended the event.
[Read more]

This image shows FHWA staff who hosted this event and all students who participate in and FHWA staff who hosted and participated in this eventit facing the camera for a group photo.

Human Factors Laboratory Participates in Transportation Summer Mini-Camp

The third annual Transportation Summer Mini-Camp was held at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center from June 28 to June 30. Eighteen students who will be sophomores, juniors, and seniors in high school or freshmen in college participated in this STEM activity and learned about transportation safety, operations, and infrastructure.
[Read more]

This image shows two men giving instruction to students who are in front of a long table.

Human Factors Team Participates in Northern Virginia STEM Event

On March 12, 2016, Dr. Jim Shurbutt, a member of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Human Factors Team, participated in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Symposium at the Nysmith School for the Gifted in Herndon, Virginia.
[Read more]

This image shows a simulated bird’s-eye view of a roadway intersection without traffic.

Human Factors Project – Assessment of Alternative Lane Grouping at Signalized Intersections

The overall goal of the Simulator Assessment of Alternative Lane Grouping at Signalized Intersections project is to develop, test, and evaluate Traffic Control Devices (TCDs) for dynamic reversible left-turn (DRLT) interchange and contraflow left-turn movement (CLTM) intersections.
[Read more]

This image shows Waikiki Beach area in Honolulu, Hawaii, including buildings of various heights, shapes, and colors.

Human Factors Laboratory New Simulation Capability - Video Added

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Human Factors Team recently enhanced its simulation capability by creating a virtual drive along Kalakaua Avenue in the Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu, Hawaii. Team members used data, information available from Hawaii Department of Transportation, and commercial, off-the-shelf software to effectively replicate a driving scenario.
[Read more]

This image shows an old sedan being removed from a large laboratory door and a newer sedan inside the laboratory. The new vehicle will replace the old vehicle in the Highway Driving Simulator.

Human Factors Laboratory Replaces Highway Driving Simulator Vehicle Cab

The Human Factors Laboratory is replacing its original Highway Driving Simulator (HDS) vehicle, a 1998 Saturn SL1, with a 2013 Ford Fusion. Since the Saturn was installed in 1999, more than 20 safety and driver behavior studies have been conducted in the HDS, in which approximately 1,800 participants drove the vehicle for over 90,000 miles of simulated travel.
[Read more]

This image shows a desktop simulator located  inside the Mobile Sign Laboratory. The driving display consists of three computer  desktop monitors that show a driver’s view while a fourth, smaller screen, replicates an instrument cluster.

Complex Interchange Study Uses Mobile Sign Laboratory Research Tool

The Mobile Sign Laboratory is currently being used on the Enhancing Safety and Operations at Complex Interchanges with Improved Signing, Marking, and Integrated Geometry project, led by Dr. Jim Shurbutt, the FHWA Project Manager, and Dr. Bryan Katz, the Principal Investigator (PI).
[Read more]

President Barack Obama and Human Factors Team Leader David Yang.

President Takes a Spin in FHWA's Highway Driving Simulator

On July 15th, 2014, President Barack Obama visited Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, where he toured some of the research laboratories, including the Highway Driving Simulator in the Human Factors Laboratory.
[Read more]

Multiple Sources of Safety Information from V2V and V2I: Redundancy, Decisionmaking, and Trust

Multiple Sources of Safety Information from V2V and V2I: Redundancy, Decisionmaking, and Trust

The "Multiple Sources of Safety Information from V2V and V2I: Redundancy, Decisionmaking, and Trust" project investigates how drivers handle critical safety information from multiple sources, including vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I).
[Read more]

News



Human Factors Team Hosts Highway Driving Simulator Open House

This image shows a cab of a driving simulator. A man is opening the door for another manFHWA Executive Director, Butch Waidelich, who is getting into the vehicle.

During this Open House, a slideshow detailing the development of the HDS, vehicle upgrade progress, and highlights of past studies were presented. The upgraded HDS cab was displayed and those interested were able to drive the simulator. The new cab in the HDS allows FHWA to continue utilizing this world-class research tool by conducting critical behavioral research that supports the mission of FHWA. For more information about this event, contact David Yang at david.yang@dot.gov.

 

 



Human Factors Laboratory Participates in Transportation Summer Mini-Camp

This image shows multiple computer screens displaying an intersection roadway. Students are seated and staff are standing over the students.

The Human Factors Laboratory was one of five laboratories that offered teaching curriculum for the Mini-Camp. Students participated in a mock-up human factors experiment, drove a driving simulator, and learned about how to create the virtual environment for human factors studies. The Human Factors Laboratory has supported the Transportation Summer Mini-Camp since its inaugural year in 2014.

 

 



Human Factors Team Participates in Northern Virginia STEM Event

This image shows a group of students surrounding an exhibit with a large poster and a man providing information to the students.

The symposium offered students, parents, and school officials an opportunity to learn about the science of human behavior and engineering and how it is applied in transportation settings. 
Staff from FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center discussed topics related to transportation safety and operations, including connected vehicles and safe routes for students who walk to school.  Staff displayed a computer screen that played various simulation videos of previous research topics conducted in the Highway Driving Simulator at TFHRC. 

For more information about this event, contact Jim Shurbutt at Jim.Shurbutt@dot.gov.

 

 



Human Factors Project – Assessment of Alternative Lane Grouping at Signalized Intersections

This image shows a simulated bird’s-eye view of a dynamic reversible left- turn interchange

The intent of Dynamic Reversible Left Turn (DRLT) is to provide more capacity for left-turn movements at diamond interchanges. Two left turn bays are replaced with one or more reversible left-turn lanes that extend across the entire distance between the nodes of the diamond interchange. The intent of Contraflow Left Turn Movement (CLTM) is to use an opposing through lane to potentially double the queue space for left-turns while eliminating or minimizing potential left-turn queue spillback. As with DRLT, this treatment is recommended where there is heavy left-turn demand, particularly where the existing left-turn pocket spills back into the through lanes during peak periods. The objective of this study is to conduct a series of human factors experiments to identify effective signing, marking, signaling, and other strategies for DRLT and CLTM designs.

For more information on this project, contact Jim Shurbutt at Jim.Shurbutt@dot.gov

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Human Factors Laboratory New Simulation Capability - Video Added

This  image shows an in-vehicle view of someone driving down a road toward Diamond  Head, Honolulu.  To the left and right  side are many trees. A large volcano is visible to the left. There is also a vehicle  nearby to the left and vehicles ahead in the distance.

The enhanced ability to simulate a city will allow FHWA’s Human Factors Team to carry out cutting-edge research and examine road user behaviors. Over the next several years, human factors issues related to topics such as connected and automated vehicle systems, innovative intersection and roadway designs, and new traffic management and operations strategies will be studied in support of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s and FHWA’s mission. Many upcoming projects will require a “holistic approach” to study the impact of new technologies and transportation countermeasures on users.

This is an image of wavy blue waters.

FHWA’s Human Factors Team has developed many impressive and realistic computer-generated scenarios for experiments. Using commercial, off-the-shelf software packages, researchers can efficiently and effectively create dynamic objects, such as water waves and moving clouds. These simulation scenarios enhance the realism of the virtual environment for experiments.

 

 



Human Factors Laboratory Replaces Highway Driving Simulator Vehicle Cab

This image shows an old sedan being removed by a forklift from a large laboratory door.

This image shows the new HDS vehicle.

The Ford Fusion is equipped with several modern features and functionalities, such as a programmable liquid-crystal display center console. This new HDS vehicle will enhance the Human Factors team’s ability to continue conducting cutting-edge research in a variety of areas, including connected vehicles and automation.

The new simulator vehicle is currently undergoing careful installation and rigorous calibration.

This image was taken from an elevated view above the new HDS vehicle. It shows the roof of the vehicle as well as the projectors and wraparound screen.

Installation of the new vehicle is scheduled to be completed before the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in January 2016. For more information, contact David Yang at 202–493–3284, or david.yang@dot.gov.

 

 



Complex Interchange Study Uses Mobile Sign Laboratory Research Tool

The Mobile Sign Laboratory was designed and developed by the PI to serve as a research tool for human factors testing of traffic signs. The Mobile Sign Laboratory includes a sign simulator similar to the equipment used at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) for testing comprehension and legibility of sign legends and symbols. In addition, the Mobile Sign Laboratory recently acquired a MiniSim™ driving simulator from the University of Iowa to test traffic control devices in a more dynamic and realistic environment. The desktop version of the MiniSim™ is perfect for testing driver comprehension and route choice based on information provided through traffic signs, signals, and pavement markings. The transportable laboratory environment allows researchers to recruit participants from various locations in case there are geographic variations that would impact research results.

This image shows a participant sitting in front  of the desktop simulator located inside the Mobile Sign Laboratory. The driving  display consists of three computer desktop monitors that show a driver’s view  while a fourth, smaller screen, replicates an instrument cluster.

 

 



President Takes a Spin in FHWA’s Highway Driving Simulator

This was the first time the President was able to "drive" in more than 6 years.

Joining President Obama at TFHRC was U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. This was the first time a president has visited TFHRC. During President Obama’s visit, he discussed the importance of investing in the Nation’s infrastructure and the Highway Trust Fund shortfall. President Obama also took time to tour the Human Factors Highway Driving Simulator.

During his tour, President Obama learned about the role of the laboratory and the needs it fulfills that are critical to the safe design and operation of the Nation’s roadways. President Obama then took the simulator for a short drive. He displayed much excitement; it was the first time he was able to "drive" a car since being elected into office in just over 6 years. President Obama stated, "This is so exciting; I haven’t been on the road in a long time."

 

President Obama tours the Human Factors Highway Driving Simulator with Human Factors Team Leader David Yang.President Obama tours the Human Factors Highway Driving Simulator with Human Factors Team Leader David Yang.
President Obama tours the Human Factors Highway Driving Simulator with Human Factors Team Leader David Yang.President Obama tours the Human Factors Highway Driving Simulator with Human Factors Team Leader David Yang.

President Obama tours the Human Factors Highway Driving Simulator with Human Factors Team Leader David Yang.

 

Monique Evans, Director of FHWA Office of Safety Research & Development, explains to President Obama the role that Safety R&D and the Highway Driving Simulator serves in reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the Nation’s roadways.

Monique Evans, Director of FHWA Office of Safety Research & Development, explains to President Obama the role that Safety R&D and the Highway Driving Simulator serves in reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the Nation’s roadways.

 

President Obama poses for a picture with (from left to right) Curtis Morrisette (onsite contract support), Monique Evans (Director, Office of Safety R&D), Jason Williams (onsite contract support), and David Yang (Human Factors Team Leader).

President Obama poses for a picture with (from left to right) Curtis Morrisette (onsite contract support), Monique Evans (Director, Office of Safety R&D), Jason Williams (onsite contract support), and David Yang (Human Factors Team Leader).

For more information, contact David Yang.

 

Read more about the President’s visit:

 

 

 



Multiple Sources of Safety Information from V2V and V2I: Redundancy, Decisionmaking, and Trust

The primary objective of the "Multiple Sources of Safety Information from V2V and V2I: Redundancy, Decision making, and Trust" project is to investigate how drivers handle critical safety information from multiple sources, including in-vehicle sources (vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V)) and external sources (vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I)).

Example of the contractors’ driving simulator showing DII and DVI Messages as Seen by the Participants.

Example of the contractors’ driving simulator showing DII and DVI messages as seen by the participants.

The objective for the empirical data-collection portion of the project was to examine the effects of providing concurrent infrastructure-based and in-vehicle safety messages on driver performance. Infrastructure-based messages are displayed on a Driver-Infrastructure Interface (DII) located within the environment, while in-vehicle messages are displayed on a Driver-Vehicle Interface (DVI) located within the vehicle cab, typically mounted near the dashboard or center stack.

 

The Contractor’s simulator setup for the experiments (external).

The Contractor’s simulator setup for the experiments (external).

 

Location of Steering Wheel and DVI inside the Cab

Location of steering wheel and DVI inside the vehicle cab at the contractor’s simulator.

 

Study Objective and General Approach

Our basic empirical approach involved using a part-task driving simulator configuration to collect data about how drivers use gap-assist information from DII and DVI displays. The specific driving scenario examined a driver making a Left Turn Across Path (LTAP) maneuver through a stream of oncoming traffic. Participants ran through repeated LTAP scenarios and indicated whether they would make a left turn through gaps in traffic by pressing the accelerator pedal. Each stream of traffic was comprised of multiple gaps of various sizes (2.5 to 12 seconds), which allowed us to generate a gap acceptance function across this range. The key independent variables were:

 

  • Gap Size: This variable was needed to generate the gap-acceptance dependent measures.
  • Age: This variable was included because use of technologies and conservativeness of gap-acceptance decisions vary by age group (Becic, Manser, Drucker, and Donath, 2013).
  • Display Type: This variable included different combinations of the presence or absence of DII and DVI information, and served as our primary comparison for testing hypotheses.
  • Traffic Visibility: This variable involved the presence or absence of a large truck turning left in the opposite direction that blocked the drivers’ view of oncoming vehicles.

 

This research effort took place offsite at the contractor’s simulator in Washington State.

For more information, contact Brian Philips.

 

 

 

 

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6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

 

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Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101