A reference level for assessing the acceptable visual demand of in-vehicle information systems

Alan Stevens, Gary Burnett, Tim Horberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


With the increasing use of in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) by drivers whilst the vehicle is in motion, the risk of distraction-related crashes is expected to increase. Distraction in this case arises from engagement of the driver with the visual demand of an IVIS display, but measurement of such visual demand, and design decisions about how much visual demand is acceptable in this context, is problematic. Using the visual 'occlusion' technique, this paper uses data from visual demand metrics (from 4 reference in-vehicle tasks with 60 participants) and makes comparisons with several other approaches including expert usability analysis, other reference levels, social acceptability survey data, and a comparison with alcohol impairment. Based on these considerations an approach is taken to represent the distribution of occlusion measurements and a demand reference level (DRL) is proposed to be used as a criterion for design of IVIS displays. The DRL comprises a metric derived from occlusion measurements and an absolute value.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-540
Number of pages14
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010


  • in-vehicle
  • occlusion
  • reference
  • visual demand

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