Psychological road audits: background, development and initial findings

Horberry, T., García-Fernández, P., Ventsislavova-Petrova, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-7095-8113 and Castro, C., 2014. Psychological road audits: background, development and initial findings. Ergonomics Australia, 6: 1. ISSN 1033-1875

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Background: Road safety audits are becoming increasingly important around the world. They are often used to assess a new road before it is opened to the public, or to audit an existing highway.

Aims: Whilst traditional road audits are of critical importance, it is hypothesized that a driver-centred approach by means of ‘psychological road audits’ could be beneficial for the safe road design process. The aim of this ongoing research is to develop a psychological road auditing process.

Method: The methodology being developed currently consists of three main components. Firstly, a naturalistic driving study, in which participants drive along the road being audited. Secondly, experimenters perform an analysis of the main driving tasks: these are decomposed into sub-tasks. Finally, a driver-centred design workshop based on the tasks decomposed in component 2; this identifies risks for each sub-task by means of a participatory ergonomics process, current controls employed are noted, road design deficiencies are identified and user-centred design improvements are developed.

Results: The project is a new Australian-Spanish-UK collaboration. For the naturalistic driving study component, initial data have been collected using a newly-opened highway in Granada, Spain. This road had a mixture of driving tasks, such as intersections and multi-lanes, plus has a comparatively high accident rate. To date, a range of experienced and novice drivers have driven the 10km route and had their verbal responses recorded. For the task analysis and driver-centred design workshop components, the driving task of ‘approaching an intersection’ was first decomposed into sub-tasks and then used as the subject matter for the safe design workshop. This revealed many potential road design deficiencies and suggestions for improvement.

Conclusions: This research is still in its early stages. However, the approach used here, of providing a structured means of driver-centred safe highway design is producing potentially valuable results.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Ergonomics Australia
Creators: Horberry, T., García-Fernández, P., Ventsislavova-Petrova, P. and Castro, C.
Publisher: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia
Date: 2014
Volume: 6
ISSN: 1033-1875
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 10 Jun 2019 10:08
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 10:10

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