Research Reports

Human factors evaluation of driver multitasking and genesis message formats

Principal Investigator:

Stirling Stackhouse, Max Burrus

February 1996

Report no. Mn/DOT 1996-13

Topics: Driver Performance and Behavior

This research established a concise set of human factors guidelines for evaluating devices and also assessed the Genesis project's message format suitability. It provides a literature review and synthesis of human factors relating to the use of devices, such as cellular phones, pagers, and car radios, and to other tasks that drivers may undertake while driving.

The work revealed that the use of information-providing devices such as pagers or PDAs will increase information processing workload; that the findings from the use of a particular device under particular conditions cannot be generalized to other devices or conditions; and that only empirical findings will show whether and under what conditions reading traffic information displayed on pagers or PDAs will seriously degrade driving performance.

Work on message format evaluation showed that message formats could be improved and that improvement would result in better legibility and comprehension and decrease the time a driver would attend to the display.

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