Title

DRIVING SIMULATORS FOR EVALUATION OF NOVEL TRAFFIC-CONTROL DEVICES: PROTECTED-PERMISSIVE LEFT-TURN SIGNAL DISPLAY ANALYSIS

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2003

Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - vehicle, ridership - drivers, economics - appraisal/evaluation

Keywords

Traffic signs, signals and markings, Traffic signs and signals, Traffic control devices, Protected permissive phasing, Motor vehicle operators, Left turns, Highway signs, signals and markings, Exclusive permissive phasing, Driving simulators, Drivers, Comprehension, Automobile driving simulators

Abstract

A study evaluated drivers' comprehension of several experimental five-section protected-permissive left-turn (PPLT) signal displays. A full-scale driving simulator and static driver study were used. Study methods were compared while evaluating drivers' comprehension and response to various combinations of five-section PPLT signal-display arrangements (horizontal, vertical, and cluster) and permissive left-turn indications (green ball, flashing red ball, flashing yellow ball, flashing red arrow, and flashing yellow arrow). The results showed that the type of five-section PPLT signal display arrangement has very little effect on driver comprehension of the permissive left-turn maneuver. The type of permissive indication used in five-section PPLT signal displays had a significant effect on driver comprehension, since the green ball, flashing yellow ball, and flashing yellow arrow were the best understood. When combining five-section PPLT signal-display arrangements and permissive indications, the five-section horizontal arrangement with a flashing-yellow-ball permissive indication had the highest level of driver comprehension. The lack of surrounding driving cues in the static driver study led to significantly higher fail-critical (serious) response rates. The green-ball permissive indication had a driver comprehension rate over 30% lower in the static study, clearly showing that drivers do not correctly comprehend the meaning of the green ball (assume it is protected) and use other information to make left-turn decisions while driving. The findings of this research show that driving simulation provides an effective study method and effectively replicates the actual driving environment. Simulators should be considered when conducting driver comprehension analyses.