DEVELOPMENT AND DRIVER UNDERSTANDING OF
HAZARD WARNING AND LOCATION SYMBOLS FOR IVSAWS
(UMTRI-93-16)

Eileen Hoekstra, Marie Williams, and Paul Green

September, 1993

This report describes research on an In-Vehicle Safety Advisory and Warning System (IVSAWS). A system of this type could receive radio signals from beacons on hazards and display in-vehicle warning messages to drivers. Possible hazards include accidents, new traffic signals, police cars, and school buses.

Appropriate hazards were identified from the literature. Based on drawings from 10 UMTRI employees, candidate hazard warnings were developed for 30 hazards. Next, 75 drivers at a driver licensing office ranked these warning symbols from best to worst, leading to recommended symbols in many cases. Text messages were slightly preferred over graphical messages. Symbols based on signs in the standard set (MUTCD) were not always preferred.

Finally, in an understandability experiment, 20 drivers were shown warnings and location cues while either driving a test route or parked. Ten hazard location symbol designs were tested: 2 text, 4 arrow, 3 overview, and 1 inside-out. Each driver identified 10 hazard symbols shown individually, a single hazard symbol combined with a location cue, and 40 combinations of warning and location cues. Of the location cues, text ("on right," "behind," "ahead to left," etc.) was best understood.

UMTRI-93-16 Full Report (.pdf)

 

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