Can a Driving Simulator Be Used to Investigate Traffic Management Measures for Heavy Vehicles?

Can a Driving Simulator Be Used to Investigate Traffic Management Measures for Heavy Vehicles?


S Meland, T Engen, SINTEF, NO


The paper presents main characteristics of and findings from the evaluation of traffic management measures prioritizing heavy goods vehicles in an urban traffic environment, using a driving simulator.


GOFER is an ongoing research project co-funded by the Norwegian Research Council, aiming at contributing to the development of cooperative information systems for heavy goods vehicles in order to facilitate control and management of heavy freight vehicles in urban areas, much the same way as the air control manages airplanes approaching or leaving an airport. This concept would mean the introduction of a new regime of regulatory measures directed at the heavy goods vehicles. In order for such a system to be accepted by the transport operators and the drivers, it also has to include measures which give priority or other kinds of "compensation" to vehicles which comply to the new regulations. To carry out live tests of measures giving priority to heavy goods vehicles in an urban traffic environment can be difficult, and in the GOFER project it turned out to be not feasible.

As a second best option to a live test of prioritizing measures, the project has included a study using a driving simulator to investigate effects of traffic management measures giving priority to heavy goods vehicles:
- giving heavy vehicles access to public transport lanes during between-peaks periods
- giving heavy vehicles a "green wave" in crossings during low-traffic periods
The simulator tests were carried out on coded parts of the main road network in Trondheim, Norway, with realistic traffic levels based on video recordings. The tests were carried out in January 2012, and involved seven experienced drivers, each completing four test rounds representing the between peaks and the low traffic periods, with and without prioritizing measures. In addition to logs of vehicle positions, speed and acceleration data from the simulator, the study included a four-part interview with the drivers, where the participants were asked to assess the realism and relevance of various aspects of the test scenarios, and how suited the simulator was to study the measures included in the test:
1. About the driver; background and driving experience
2. About the test of access to public transport lanes
3. About the test of "green wave"
4. An overall assessment of the test and comparison of the tested measures

The conference paper will include presentation of the test in the driving simulator, the scenarios tested, and main findings from the driver interviews, with special attention to how realistic and relevant the test scenarios and the methodology used were considered to be, in terms of representing the traffic management measures in question.


Association for European Transport