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Third-party-funded project

Definition of an Information Distance on Rural Roads

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

Current guidelines for road construction contain the requirement that at every point of the road the driver must be able to detect a static obstacle and bring the vehicle to a stop before it, at least in principle. The current model of the necessary viewing distance is based on assumptions about reaction times of the driver and certain values (maxima) of road friction and deceleration, which have been outdated by recent developments in vehicle technology and road surface treatment. On the other hand it is generally acknowledged that for safe driving probably a viewing distance of more than the stopping distance is necessary. Goal of the project is to develop a definition and estimation of the viewing distance, which the driver needs to process information relevant to the driving task adequately (= "information distance"). Driver behaviour (gaze, pedals, wheel input) and reactions of the driver-vehicle-system will be collected in test drives with different viewing distances in the simulator (IZVW) and on real roads (TU Dresden). In addition, drivers will be asked to perform a secondary task (visual search) in order to determine the amount of free information processing resources. Ultimately the definition of a model of information distance will be attempted.

Key words:
    road construction
    gaze behaviour
    human information processing

Projekt period: from 01.2004 to 04.2006

Funding institution:
Sonstige öffentliche Mittel ( Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen )


Center for Traffic Sciences