Cross-Platform Simulation Needs for Novice (and other) Drivers TRB Workshop on “Development of Standardized Descriptions of Driving Simulator Scenarios: Human Factors Considerations Jerry Wachtel The Veridian Group, Inc. January 9, 2005
Young Novice Drivers • We’ve been studying this issue for a long time • Must distinguish novice drivers from young novice drivers The Veridian Group, Inc.
Young Novice Drivers Have: • Excellent Reflexes • Good hand-eye coordination • Rapid perception-reaction time • Ability to divide and share attention • Wide range of body strength and motion • Excellent peripheral and night vision, contrast sensitivity The Veridian Group, Inc.
These are essentially the same factors that are important for safe driving, but compromised in the elderly and known to contribute to their elevated crash rate The Veridian Group, Inc.
Young novice drivers also have: • An inflated assessment of their abilities • A high propensity to take risks • Greater exposure to potential crash situations • A lack of driving experience, which leads to • Unrefined perceptual and cognitive skills critical for safe driving The Veridian Group, Inc.
We Can See these Differences in Crash Types and Consequences • Young novice drivers have high-speed, single vehicle, run-off-road crashes • Older drivers have low-speed, two-vehicle, intersection, angled crashes • Older drivers have high fatality rates because they are physically frail • Young drivers have high fatality rates because they hit things hard The Veridian Group, Inc.
Fatality Rates by Age 1993-2003 The Veridian Group, Inc.
Four Skills to Mediate Young Novice Driver Crash Risk • Risk perception • Attentional Control • Time-sharing • Calibration The Veridian Group, Inc.
Training/Testing for These Skills Amenable to Simulation • Traditional driver education not working • Focus has been on vehicle control or “passing the test” • Focus should be on compressing the learning curve for critical perceptual and cognitive skills • This is precisely where simulation is at its best The Veridian Group, Inc.
Traditional Arguments Against Simulation • Cost • Fidelity • Validity (and the “criterion” problem) The Veridian Group, Inc.
Two Less Obvious Arguments Against Simulation • Motivation • Challenges and “gold standards” The Veridian Group, Inc.
The Role of Motivation • Motivation has been shown to affect performance on simulators • Traditional motivators include: • Captive subjects (required to participate) • Payment for service • Zero-sum game • Please the professor The Veridian Group, Inc.
Negative Motivation • Young novice drivers may consider “safe” driving boring and tedious • Examples abound of simulators used as race cars • The Plymouth/Dodge Neon Drunk Driving Simulator The Veridian Group, Inc.
The Neon Drunk Driving Simulator The Veridian Group, Inc.
Inherent Motivation • Pass the simulator test, get your license • Not as far-fetched as it may seem • Used successfully in other industries • Used with specific subsets of drivers: • Police trainees • Cognitively impaired patients The Veridian Group, Inc.
How can we use the power of simulation to provide positive motivation and serve the learning function? The Veridian Group, Inc.
Challenges, and “Gold Standards” • Challenges are at the heart of our simulation exercises • We have a tendency to seek the “holy grail” • Subject matter experts can tell us what is needed • We should be coming together to harmonize these events across sites The Veridian Group, Inc.
Cross-Platform Compatibilities Important for Younger (and all) Drivers • The Visual Data Base • The Scenario • The Simulation (including independent variables) • Dependent variables The Veridian Group, Inc.
The Data Base • The road and the terrain • ITE “Green Book” • FHWA MUTCD The Veridian Group, Inc.
An Example from the MUTCD The Veridian Group, Inc.
The Scenario – and Signs • Signs as “environmental filler” vs. actual triggers or independent variables • Some have argued that poor visual characteristics of simulated signs results in fail-safe recommendations. • This does not work for the novice driver The Veridian Group, Inc.
Use of Supplemental Monitor for Display of Signs The Veridian Group, Inc.
The Simulation • Are objects intended to be background or will they be used as triggers or independent variables? • The answer to this question might dictate how precise we must be in our specifications The Veridian Group, Inc.
And if precision is needed, “the devil is in the details.” The Veridian Group, Inc.
Importance of Sign Size and Placement Fidelity The Veridian Group, Inc.
Dependent Measures The Veridian Group, Inc.