An Explanatory Analysis to Evaluate the Driver Perception of Dynamic Message Signs

An Explanatory Analysis to Evaluate the Driver Perception of Dynamic Message Signs


M A Mohammadi, G H Bham, D Cernusca, Missouri University of Science and Technology, US


To resent a drivers’ assessment of Dynamic Message Signs (DMS) using principal component factor analysis. The result of this study is a first step to provide an alternate tool for evaluating the effectiveness of DMS on reducing traffic congestion.


Due to the aging infrastructure in the United States, highway work zones are increasing nationwide. They reduce traffic flow, cause delays and pose safety problems for travelers. To address these issues highway agencies are utilizing innovative measures such as dynamic message signs (DMS). DMS are electronic traffic signs that change in real time and can harmonize the speeds of vehicles. In the past, most of the research on the effectiveness of DMS have used simulated driving environment (Miller et al. 2008) with only few studies being carried out on data collected from field observations (Zech et al. 2008, Fontaine and Carlson 2001). This field study presents a drivers? assessment of DMS using principal component factor analysis. Previous studies have shown that factor analysis can be an effective tool to identify underlying measures of subjective investigations such as driver-related studies. Haselkorn et al. (1989) used factor analysis to analyze the impact of traffic information from radio, TV and DMS on drivers? route choice behavior. Crum et al. (2001) also utilized factor analysis to evaluate fatigue and crash characteristics in driving environments based on the responses of a driver survey.

This study uses a survey administered to drivers traveling on I-44 to examine their perception of DMS. The survey evaluated the drivers? on the impact of DMS on traffic congestion, speed, and safety. The DMS were also evaluated in terms of visibility, readability, and reliability. This study also looks at how various driver perceptions can be synthesized in factors that impact the behavior of drivers as a result of DMS presence.

Further, the research focuses on understanding travelers' satisfaction with DMS. In total, 100 drivers were surveyed that included both passenger car and truck drivers. An explanatory factor analysis using principal component method was carried out on drivers' responses and three scales were identified to explain the variability in the responses. The factors were directly related to the effects of DMS on traffic congestion (including travel time and delay), displayed messages (including clarity and reliability), and driving behavior (including speed and lane changing).This study provides a basis for developing future surveys for a confirmatory analysis and to further examine the effectiveness of different questions used. The results of this study is a first step to provide an alternate tool for evaluating the effectiveness of DMS on reducing traffic congestion as the perception of drivers is related to their behavior.

Miller, L., Abraham, D., and Mannering, F. 2008. "Effectiveness of speed control measures on nighttime construction and maintenance projects: Some new evidence." CD-ROM, Proceedings of the 87th Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Zech, W.C. and Mohan, S.B. 2008. "Evaluation of Messages on Changeable Message Signs as a Speed Control Measure in Highway Work Zones". Practical periodical on Structural Design and Construction 13(1), ASCE, pp. 11-18.

Fontaine, M. D., and Carlson, P.J. 2001. "Evaluation of speed displays and rumble strip at rural maintenance work zones." Presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C.

Haselkorn, M., Spyridakis, J., Conquest, L., and Barfield, W., 1989. "Surveying Commuter Behavior as a Basis for Designing Motorist Information Systems." Proceedings of the Conference on Vehicle Navigation and Information Systems (VNIS), pp. 93-100.

Crum, M. R., Morrow, P. C., Daecher, C. 2001. "Motor carrier scheduling practices and their influence on driver fatigue". Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC (2001)


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