Traffic sense: which factors influence the ability to predict the development of traffic scenes?

Publisher's full text
Albert Kircher
Håkan Alm

A study was conducted to evaluate the skill to predict the development of traffic situations. A stop-controlled intersection was filmed over several days, and 12 scenes with varying traffic complexity were selected. In half of the scenes, the traffic rules were violated, in half of the scenes, the rules were observed. A total of 36 participants were asked to watch the scenes and predict how the scene would most likely develop in the 2 s after the film was paused. Additionally, the participants rated how certain they were about their prediction, and how complex and dangerous they assessed the scenes to be. With the method used here, experienced drivers were not found to make more correct predictions of situational development, and no difference in skill to predict could be found between genders. Nevertheless, more experienced drivers were more certain in their judgements and evaluated the situations on average as less complex and dangerous than did less experienced drivers. Scenes in which the traffic rules were violated were more difficult to predict correctly. The scenes in which the participants predicted violations were rated as more complex and dangerous. It is concluded that the low-cost method used here is more useful for examining which scenes are generally easy or difficult to predict and how they are experienced subjectively than to investigate differences in performance for different driver categories.

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