Road user ability and behaviour
af Lene Herrstedt
The main focus of the Nordic innovation project initiated by the Nordic Road Directorates has been to collect existing research based knowledge about road user ability and behaviour and bring it into a general overview for practical use with the aim of creating a common basis for a safe and road user friendly road design. Standing on this base a draft version of an explaining model for road user behaviour is developed for practical use in road design and traffic management.
From research a lot of existing empiric knowledge about physical and mental ability among different groups of road users is available but not always well-arranged for practical use. To make it useful in practical road design and traffic management we need to collect the knowledge from the huge number of research reports and bring it into a general overview for practical use.
The huge amount of information is handled in the project Parts II – Physical abilities, limits and problems among road users (e.g. reaction time and decision time, essential visual factors, walking speed etc.) and Part III – Mental abilities, limits and problems of road users (e.g. perception of speed, distance and space; information overload and distraction; divided, selective and switching attention etc.) ending up with summarised structured overviews for practical use.
The substance in these two parts makes up the basis for the development of a draft version of a “Nordic Explanatory Model” for road user behaviour (Part IV). The model describes some general principles for road user behaviour. The intention has been to create a tool for understanding and explaining problems of road users and to implement new fundamental ways of thinking in practical road design and traffic management activities in the Nordic countries.
While Part II and Part III are what may be described as “bottom up” activities where empirical results are summarised in the form of general conclusions, Part IV is more like a “top down” activity, where some general principles for road user behaviour are defined from general theories of human behaviour. Together those three parts form the foundation tool for creating a safe and road user friendly road design.