Posts Tagged simulation

A Dome Projection Platform to study Pedestrian Behavior

Did you know:

  • Pedestrian road crashes are amongst the most substantial causes of death, injury and long-term disability among children, particularly among those in the age range of 5-to 9 years
  • Negotiating traffic requires a variety of cognitive and perceptual skills.  When those skills are not properly developed, pedestrians road-related decisions will probably be inadequate
  • Young children are less competent in traffic than adults
  • A large proportion of traffic injuries occur while children are walking to or from school
  • Elementary-school children cross the road without adults’ accompaniment, especially when coming back from school
  • Prohibiting children under the age of 9 from crossing the road alone is not sufficient for reducing their over-involvement in pedestrian crashes

Towards understanding child-pedestrian’s deficits in perceiving hazards when crossing the road

Together with my colleague David Shinar and two graduate students Anat Meir and Hagai Tapiro we are  in the process of developing a platform to study how children at various ages perceive hazards and dangers in the traffic environment. We have developed an experimental platform that mimics a typical Israeli urban environment.

A Dome projection facility

  • Integrates the natural visual and motor skills of a person into the environment
  • Large enough to have participants immersed within its circumference
  • Physical movement can be added to improve simulation fidelity
  • Our dome is a 180 degrees projection facility (6.5 meters in diameter with 3-D perception projection system) it is temperature and noise controlled
  • A verity of measurement (including eye tracking) and recording systems are available

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Musts….

  • for such a facility to be useful it must project a typical urban environment that resembles reality with the appropriate level of resolution and level of detail
  • A 3-d model database of a typical Israeli urban area was developed (the database was generated by bdesign and is run on the MAK VR-Forces/VR-Vantage platform)
  • Typical crossing scenarios are now being designed

So here I am proudly standing in the dome room and here’s Hagai in the control room.

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Drivers’ perception of pedestrian in urban areas

Statistical databases often distinguish between accidents with pedestrian-injuries in urban and inter-city areas. Obviously, conflicting situations involving pedestrians are more typical in urban areas and less common in intercity areas. Nevertheless, the urban environment itself is not unified. There are variations in its characteristics; some of its roads are located inside residential neighborhoods and are more populated with pedestrians while other urban roads are located beyond residential neighborhoods and are less populated with pedestrians. Specifically, it is not clear whether differences in pedestrian expectancies can be exemplified in within-neighborhood residential roads and between-neighborhood urban roads. In our new publications we used the results of a Hazard Perception Test (HPT) to examine differences in drivers’ response to pedestrian-related events in urban and residential areas.

This  new publication will appear soon in a special issue dedicated to vulnerable road users (VRUs) in Accident analysis and prevention (David Shinar, guest editor). Look for:  Borowsky, A., Oron-GIlad,T. , Meir, A. & Parmet, Y. (in press). Drivers perception of vulnerable road users: A hazard perception approach, Accident Analysis and Prevention. Accepted November 2010.

Abstract

The present study examined how experienced and young-inexperienced drivers (either trained in hazard perception or not) respond to and identify pedestrians when they appear in residential roads within populated neighborhoods and in urban roads located outside neighborhoods and usually less populated. As part of a hazard perception test, participants were connected to an eye tracking system and were asked to observe 58 traffic scene movies and press a response button each time they detected a hazardous situation. Analyzing all pedestrian-related events revealed that, regardless of driving experience or training, drivers detect pedestrians less often when they appear in urban areas and more often when they appear in residential areas. In addition, drivers had shorter fixations when fixating on pedestrians in residential areas. Moreover, experienced drivers processed information more efficiently than young-inexperienced drivers (both trained and untrained) when pedestrians were identified. Visual search patterns in urban and residential traffic environments are discussed.

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Age, skill, and hazard perception in driving

Road hazard is any object, situation, occurrence or combination of these that introduce the possibility of the individual road user to experience harm (see Hawarth, Symmons & Kowadlo, 2000).

Hazard Perception (HP) is the ability to read the road (Mills, Hall, McDonald & Rolls, 1988) or situation awareness for dangerous situations (Horswill & Mckenna, 2004).

HP is a skill that improves with driving experience. Experienced drivers have a more holistic perception of the traffic environment. They adjust their eye scanning patterns to the characteristics of the traffic environment and they detect more hazards than young-inexperienced drivers. Young-inexperienced drivers (with few months of driving experience) have an impoverished knowledge base which causes them to pay more attention to unimportant details, and to scan the road less efficiently. With regard to elderly drivers, some studies have shown that unlike other driving-related skills, HP does not diminish over the years, since it is based on accumulated experience and schemata.

We used a video observation technique and showed that elderly drivers identified more hazards than experienced drivers, thereby supporting the claim that hazard perception does not diminish over time. However, in some cases they identify hazards later than experienced drivers. Thus, elderly drivers may identify the hazard (e.g., an intersection) at the same time as the experienced driver, but have slower physical reaction time or, more likely, project the hazards based on their own driving behavior which often consists of slower driving speeds than the obtained driving speed in the video-based scenarios.

To read more see our recent article: Age, skill, and hazard perception in driving Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 42, Issue 4, July 2010, Pages 1240-1249. Avinoam Borowsky, David Shinar, Tal Oron-Gilad

Abstract

This study examined the effects of age and driving experience on the ability to detect hazards while driving; namely, hazard perception. Studies have shown that young-inexperienced drivers are more likely than experienced drivers to suffer from hazard perception deficiencies. However, it remains to be determined if this skill deteriorates with advancing age. Twenty-one young-inexperienced, 19 experienced, and 16 elderly drivers viewed six hazard perception movies while connected to an eye tracking system and were requested to identify hazardous situations. Four movies embedded planned, highly hazardous, situations and the rest were used as control. Generally, experienced and older-experienced drivers were equally proficient at hazard detection and detected potentially hazardous events (e.g., approaching an intersection, pedestrians on curb) continuously whereas young-inexperienced drivers stopped reporting on hazards that followed planned, highly hazardous situations. Moreover, while approaching T intersections older and experienced drivers fixated more towards the merging road on the right while young-inexperienced drivers fixated straight ahead, paying less attention to potential vehicles on the merging road. The study suggests that driving experience improves drivers’ awareness of potential hazards and guides drivers’ eye movements to locations that might embed potential risks. Furthermore, advanced age hardly affects older drivers’ ability to perceive hazards, and older drivers are at least partially aware of their age-related limitations.

Eye scanning patterns obtained from elderly-experienced (red), experienced (green) and young-inexperienced (blue) drivers are shown in the pictures below. The more experienced drivers tend to concentrate on the merging road on the right. Young drivers focus closer and more to the left.

 

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