Designing Safe Road Systems : A Human Factors Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Designing Safe Road Systems
A Human Factors Perspective

ISBN 9781138073760
Published March 29, 2017 by CRC Press
192 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $64.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Many books focus on individual differences and how those relate to traffic safety such as accident proneness, gender differences, age, alcohol, and the effects of drugs. Others focus on the safety effects regarding the vehicle such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, navigation systems, intelligent cruise control and other new gadgets coming to the vehicle. Even though these topics are undoubtedly important for traffic safety, this book takes a unique approach as it focuses solely on the road environment. Designing Safe Road Systems provides the background for those who want to know more about the effects of road design on driving behaviour. It uses a systems approach to allow a better understanding of why and in what circumstances drivers may commit errors. This understanding will ultimately lead to road systems that prevent (fatal) errors from occurring. The book contains an overview of the current models and theories about human performance and human behaviour in traffic that are relevant for all those involved in designing safe road systems. The central theme of this book is how design principles can reduce the probability of an error while driving. The authors demonstrate how knowledge of human factors helps a road authority to better understand how road users behave. They argue that in many cases the design of the environment can be further adjusted to human capabilities, and that safety should be considered a system property to be built into the road system.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Introduction; Self-explaining roads and traffic system; Resilience to failure and breakdown; The performance of road users: hierarchical task levels; Workload management; Information carriers meet basic ergonomic principles; Individual information elements are consistent and uniform within their context; Risk averse side effects of measures; Motivational aspects; Variation in performance; Communicating with the road user; Summary and conclusions; Index.

View More



Jan Theeuwes studied Experimental Psychology and Ergonomics at Tilburg University from which graduated cum laude in 1988. He received his PhD in 1992 from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam also with the highest honour (cum laude). He was researcher and later department head at the TNO Human Factors Institute from 1988 until 1998. He conducted human factors research on information processing in driving for government (the Dutch and US DOTs), various companies such as BMW and Volvo, and various EU projects. With Hans Godthelp he developed the concept of self-explaining roads (Theeuwes and Godthelp, 1992; 1993) which has become one of the leading principles of road design worldwide. He is an expert in visual perception, attention and eye movements. In 1999 he became full Professor Cognitive Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He worked in various laboratories in the United States, Canada, and Germany. Jan Theeuwes has published more than 160 papers in leading scientific journals worldwide. His work has had a major impact on the research community as evidenced by an H-factor of 33. In 2001 he received the Bertelson award from the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP) for his "outstanding contributions to European Cognitive Psychology". In 2010 Jan Theeuwes was elected member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW). Dr. A. Richard A. van der Horst is presently both senior research scientist and senior business consultant Behavioural and Societal Sciences at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO. He holds an MSc degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD degree with the thesis 'A Time-based Analysis of Road User Behaviour in Normal and Critical Encounters', both from the Delft University of Technology. Richard's research background is in studies on human decision-making processes in traffic in relationship with the road infrastructure and other road users (signalised intersections, railway level crossings, gap-acceptance, traffic conflicts, etc). He developed a video-based analysis method enabling an objective quantification of dynamic road user behaviour in traffic. He has been working in the field of human factors in road traffic for over 36 years with a focus on evaluation and assessment of road design, traffic management and in-vehicle driver support systems in terms road user behaviour, comfort, workload and road safety. Driver modelling and development of tools and techniques for evaluating ITS applications are Richard's special interest. He is a member of several international committees on road design and human factors related topics in road traffic. These include co-chairing the TRB subcommittee International Human Factors Guidelines for Road Systems, member of two other TRB committees (Vehicle User Characteristics and User Information Systems) and one subcommittee (Digital Billboards). Richard represents the Netherlands in the ISO/TC22/SC13/WG8 TICS in-vehicle HMI standardization group. He is a member of several national advisory boards and working groups including SWOV, CROW, and AIDA. Richard has been co-author of more than 300 publications and technical reports. He was the recipient of the A.R. Lauer Safety Award of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, San Francisco, September, 2010. Dr Maria J. Kuiken is currently senior consultant Behavioural and Societal Sciences at DHV, an engineering and consulting firm. She holds an MSc degree in Psychology and a PhD degree in Psychological, Educational and Sociological Sciences with the thesis 'Instructional support to drivers: The role of in-vehicle feedback in improving driving performance of qualified motorists', both from the University of Groningen. Her research background is in studies on young drivers and strategies for behavioural interventions, i.e. educational measures and driver training. Maria has been working for 26 years in the area of road user behaviour and traffic safety. Specific research themes include cognitive task performance and user aspects of in-vehicle driver support systems, the research and development of enforcement strategies, publicity campaigns and educational programmes for specific groups of road users, i.e. vulnerable road users, young drivers, aggressive drivers. As a senior and strategic consultant at DHV, Maria performed safety evaluations, in-depth accident studies and safety audits. She applied scenario concepts to infrastructure design and contributed to the development of scenario analysis and resilience engineering as new safety engineering design tools in the domains of transport and traffic safety.


’This is a book which has proved to be a very valuable source of information for me and will certainly aid many more transport psychology / ergonomics researchers. It would not be far-fetched to say that Designing Safe Road Systems: A Human Factor Perspective has the potential to act as a key reference for transport engineering or similar modules at undergraduate or postgraduate levels. It serves the need for numerous researchers to develop a systemic view of the road and in doing so explains the effects of road design on driving behaviour and uses this understanding to put forward ways to design so-called smart roads.’ Ergonomics, Vol 56 No 2, 2013