Colleen Serafin, Marie Williams, Gretchen Paelke, and Paul Green

May 1991, revised Sept. 1993

This report describes advanced driver information systems that should appear in cars of the early 21st century, and proposes a systems engineering method for selecting the most beneficial systems. Systems (functions) of interest were cellular phone, navigation/route guidance, roadway hazard warning, traffic information, vehicle monitoring, entertainment, in-car signing, motorist services, and in-car offices.

For each system, the reduction of accidents (59.3 percent), benefits to traffic operations (39.4 percent), and driver wants (0.5 percent) and needs (0.8 percent) were considered. The accident scores were based on the impact of features on causal factors of accidents (e.g., inattention, excessive speed, etc.). Benefits to traffic operations were estimated from changes in mode choice (e.g., use of public transportation), route choice, and traffic flow (e.g., eliminating peak congestion). Driver wants were based on a focus group study. Driver needs were assessed from the impact of each feature on driver behavior for three representative trip scenarios (work, personal business, and social/recreational).

Using these schemes, features of each system were ranked from most to least beneficial. From this and other information, the first five systems listed above were chosen for further study. Features ranked as particularly beneficial provided information about roadway hazards (crash site, construction, railroad crossing), congestion, traffic rules, freeway management, path control (e.g., headlight out), and trip planning. Information elements (specific units of information) were identified for these features and prioritized.

UMTRI-91-16 Full Report (.pdf)


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