Transportation & Vehicle Safety Policy

Effects of Age, System Experience, and Navigation Technique on Driving with an Advanced Traveler Information System

Dingus, T.A.; Hulse, M.C.; Mollenhauer, M.A.; Fleischman, R.N.; McGehee, D.V.; Manakkal, N.


This paper explores the effects of age, system experience, and navigation technique on driving, navigation performance, and safety for drivers who used TravTek, an Advanced Traveler Information System. The first two studies investigated various route guidance configurations on the road in a specially equipped instrumented vehicle with an experimenter present. The third was a naturalistic quasi-experimental field study that collected data unobtrusively from more than 1200 TravTek rental car drivers with no in-vehicle experimenter. The results suggest that with increased experience, drivers become familiar with the system and develop strategies for substantially more efficient and safer use. The results also showed that drivers over age 65 had difficulty driving and navigating concurrently. They compensated by driving slowly and more cautiously. Despite this increased caution, older drivers made more safety-related errors than did younger drivers. The results also showed that older drivers benefited substantially from a well-designed ATIS driver interface.