A Preliminary Safety Evaluation of Route Guidance
Comparing Different MMI Concepts

New road information systems are expected to become an important contribution in improving safety and efficiency of the road traffic system. Route guidance systems are at present very likely representing both the most prominent and marketable type of RTI developments. They are designed to assist the driver in route-planning and direction finding as well as to optimize routes within the road-network.

Yet little is known concerning the impacts of the new systems on road users' beha-viour. Field studies and field experiments are one of the basic prerequisites in gaining both reliable input data and an empirical foundation for the evaluation of route guidan-ce systems. A field study is presented, where traffic conflict and error counting me-thods have been applied in order to analyse the prototype of a route guidance system, which shall be on the market soon, especially under the aspects of safety and utility. Two different MMI-concepts (1. a combination of optical and acoustical information and 2. acoustical information alone) were compared with "conventional" route guidan-ce (map) and an "optimal" treatment by using a human co-pilot, familiar with the area.

The subjects tested were not familiar with the road network of Munich where the field trials took place. Moreover, the subjects had to vary with respect to age, driving expe-rience, sex and map reading ability. The field trials were carried out on a test route consi-sting of four different types of traffic environments which again were subdivided into four parts, where intermediate destinations had been defined. The test routes were se-lected according to criteria, based on former research work on a behaviour and task related taxonomy of traffic situations. Highly complex and especially selected situati-ons, which should provoke overreliance and visual distraction effects by the subjects, were intentionally "installed".

Results of this field study are described in terms of error and conflict rates (with respective exposure data), critical situations, functionality of the systems for both drivers and traffic system, and subjective safety and ac-ceptance.

Aus: Fastenmeier, W., Haller, R. & Lerner, G. (1994). A preliminary safety evaluation of route guidance comparing different MMI concepts. In ERTICO (Ed.), Towards an Intelligent Transport System, Proceedings of the First World Congress on Applications Transport Telematics & Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems, Vol. 4 (pp. 1750-1757). Boston, London: Artech House.

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