Evaluation of driver visual demand at different design speeds on complex two-dimensional rural highway alignments
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 10:35 by Ahmad Muneeb
Road crashes are a major cause of loss of human life, property and money throughout the world. One of the reasons behind these crashes is the interaction between drivers and road alignments. The need to understand the factors that affect drivers has become obvious and is now being addressed by researchers. Moreover, driver workload is gaining attention as a measure of highway-design consistency as it directly reveals design features to the driver. This research focuses on evaluating driver visual demand at different design speeds along with other geometric design features for two-dimensional rural horizontal roadway alignments. Twelve such alignments having simple and complex curves were designed following the standards of the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC). The driver simulator at Ryerson University, Toronto, recently modified after the integration of a car, was used for the simulation of roadway alignments. Scenario Definition Language (SDL) was used to develop Event files for simulation and to save the required data. Twelve drivers drove the simulated alignments. The output data relating to driver visual demand were processed using MS Notepad and MS Excel. The visual demand calculations for full-element length (VDF), half-element length (VDH) and the first 30 m of element length (VD30) for curve and tangent sections of alignments were done using MS Excel. Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) was used to anlayze and develop models for VDF, VDH and VD30 for curve and tangent sections, first considering design speed only as explanatory variable and then considering design speed along with other geometric design characteristics as explanatory variables. It has been observed that visual demand increases with the increase in design speed. Besides, the combined effect of design speed an other geometric design characteristics (e.g., the type of preceding element, the turning direction of a curve) has significant effect on visual demand. It was also found that visual demand followed a Log Normalized distribution which was also observed by previous research. The developed models were used to establish the visual demand profile for highway design consistency evaluation. The comparison of visual demand profile and operating speed profile has shown that the visual demand can be an acceptable measure for evaluating the highway design consistency.