Initial development of psychological road audits: Combining human factors, safe design and traffic psychology

Tim Horberry, Pedro García-Fernández, Petya Ventsislavova-Petrova, Candida Castro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review


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 workshop with some of the drivers used in component 1: 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. 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication49th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Conference 2013, HFESA 2013
PublisherHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc. (HFESA)
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventHuman Factors and Ergonomics Conference (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia) 2013 - Perth, Australia
Duration: 2 Dec 20134 Dec 2013
Conference number: 49th


ConferenceHuman Factors and Ergonomics Conference (Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia) 2013
Abbreviated titleHFESA 2013

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