Comparative Data Analysis of Older Driver's vs Younger Driver's Gap Acceptance Behavior at signalized left turns - A driving Simulator Study
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Drivers aged 65 and older are particularly prone to motor vehicle crashes, with approximately 20% of traffic fatalities occurring at intersections . Intersections appear to be hazardous for drivers in this age group due to cognitive, perceptual, and psychomotor challenges. Older drivers find it particularly difficult to safely navigate left turns at signalized permissive intersections, having problems adequately detecting, perceiving, and accurately judging the safety of gaps. The increase in the number of elderly drivers has been paralleled by an increase in road-related accidents due to age-related fragility. By 2030, more than 21% of the adult population is projected to be over 65 years old . However, previous studies have not adequately considered the combined effects of the randomized gap, queue length, traffic volume, pedestrians, and physiological factors on driving. The current study aims to address the gap in the literature by explicitly examining older and younger drivers’ gap acceptance behaviors during permissive left turns at four-way intersections. The main objective of this thesis is to study, identify and analyze the effect of Gap Acceptance Behavior on age, traffic volume, queue length, and physiological factors such as heart rate variability (HRV), electrodermal activity (EDA), and motion sickness among older and younger drivers. The data was collected from a driving simulator study comprising 40 participants aged between 20-30 for younger and 65 years for older. The collected data was used for comparative analysis, with the Gap Accepted by the drivers calculated from the video data. The gap is calculated as the distance between the left turning vehicle and the oncoming traffic. All recruited drivers were healthy. Each participant navigated twelve scenarios, six with lower traffic conditions and six with higher traffic conditions. Each lower and higher traffic scenario varied in queue length, with the number of cars in front of the ego vehicle varying from 0, 1, and 2. All varying queue lengths also had one with a pedestrian and another without. The physiological data collected through the Empatica4 wristband was also considered to study the gap acceptance behavior. Another parameter, motion sickness susceptibility score (MSSQ), was obtained from a questionnaire the participants completed after the experiment. Of these factors, queue length, traffic volume, and pedestrians play a significant role in studying gap acceptance. There is a significant difference in accepting and rejecting the gap between young and older drivers. Older drivers’ decision is affected more by factors, such as traffic volume, age, queue length, HRV, EDA, MSSQ score and the presence of pedestrians. This study showed that older drivers exhibited longer gap acceptance times than their younger counterparts while turning left across traffic at permissive intersections. Researchers may use the findings to better understand gap acceptance behaviors, while policymakers may utilize the results to design mobility guidelines.
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Sneha Srinivasan Rammanoharan (2023). Comparative Data Analysis of Older Driver's vs Younger Driver's Gap Acceptance Behavior at signalized left turns - A driving Simulator Study. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19359