The social psychology of traffic situations : collision avoidance by drivers and pedestrians (2002)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Science
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
Two virtual reality simulation studies of traffic-based situations are presented. Both are simulations of real-world social situations involving two parties, with one party computer controlled and the other party the experimental participant. The first study investigates the relative me1it of a fractional rate braking control system compared to a traditional linear braking control system in the context of vehicle following. With a fractional rate braking system, deceleration is proportional to cmrent velocity, whereas deceleration in a linear braking system is independent of velocity. It was found that fractional rate control led to more accurate maintenance of headway to a lead vehicle and lower workload over the duration of a single braking episode. When the gap maintenance task was extended to include multiple braking, constant speed and acceleration episodes however, no difference in performance or workload was found between fractional rate and linear control modes. Further research is required to determine how braking profiles produced with a fractional rate braking system differ from those produced with a linear braking system. The second study investigates a pedestrian road-crossing situation in which the participant was committed to crossing the road in front of an oncoming vehicle. The virtual environment was displayed through a head mounted display that was updated via head tracking equipment as the participant crossed the road. The relative safety of road-crossing events were scored using the ratio of the time taken to cross to a safe position divided by the time available in which to cross (te1med the safety ratio). It was found that paiticipants crossed the road more safely when there was more time available in which to cross, and also when the vehicle started closer to them (and there was the same time available to cross as when the vehicle started further away and travelled faster). Future experiments should investigate whether road-crossing performance is affected by the time available to cross when varied independently of distance to the vehicle (i.e. different vehicle speeds). The two studies project toward a system in which a pedestrian and driver can interact in the same virtual environment.
KeywordsTraffic safety--Psychological aspects; Traffic safety--Computer simulation; Automobile driving--Braking--Computer simulation; Pedestrian areas--Computer simulation
RightsAll Rights Reserved
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