Minnesota Department of Transportation
Lane-departure crashes at horizontal curves represent a significant portion of fatal crashes on rural Minnesota roads. Because of this; solutions are needed to aid drivers in identifying upcoming curves and inform them of a safe speed at which they should navigate the curve. One method for achieving this that avoids costly infrastructure-based methods is to use in-vehicle technology to display dynamic curve-speed warnings to the driver. Such a system would consist of a device located in the vehicle capable of providing a visual and auditory warning to the driver when approaching a potentially hazardous curve at an unsafe speed. This project seeks to determine the feasibility of in-vehicle dynamic curve-speed warnings as deployed on a smartphone app. The system was designed to maximize safety and efficacy to ensure that system warnings are appropriate; timely; and non-distracting to the driver. The developed system was designed and implemented based on the results of a literature survey and a usability study. The developed system was evaluated by 24 Minnesota drivers in a controlled pilot study at the Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center in St. Cloud; Minnesota. The results of the pilot study showed that; overall; the pilot study participants liked the system and found it useful. Analysis of quantitative driver behavior metrics showed that when receiving appropriately placed warnings; drivers navigated horizontal curves 8-10% slower than when not using the system. These findings show that such a curve-speed warning system would be useful; effective; and safe for Minnesota drivers.
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