Evaluation of Novel Motorway Designs Using Driving Simulation
C Diels, N Reed, A M Parkes, Transport Research Laboratory, UK
As the volume of traffic on motorways increases, the negative effects of congestion become more pressing. Increased journey times present a real cost to the economy in terms of lost productivity, increased fuel costs, and environmental impacts. Potential solutions to these challenges may lie in alternative and innovative methods for utilising the current motorway network. The UK?s Highways Agency is exploring methods of maximising the capacity of the motorway network without significant changes to the existing infrastructure including novel Hard Shoulder Running schemes and Road Tolling. These schemes have a number of original features regarding signs and signals, road layout, and road markings. Major factors affecting the success of such schemes are attitudes and opinions, as well as comprehension and compliance of motorists. A lack of familiarity could present multiple barriers to the operation of such schemes. Motorists may be confused and react in unexpected ways which could alarm other drivers, or even lead to accidents. Even those who are familiar with such schemes may not choose to observe its regulations. Of course, investigating drivers? reactions to and opinions of such schemes in a real-world setting would be potentially dangerous. Driving simulation provides a cost-effective means to evaluate these novel motorway designs and schemes in a safe and controlled environment. In this paper, the relevance of driving simulation technology in the evaluation of novel motorway designs will be demonstrated on the basis of recent simulation studies conducted in the TRL carsimulator. Simulation results will be discussed from a Human Factors point of view and potential implications on road safety and road network performance will be presented.
Association for European Transport