TTI Researcher Presents at Human Factors Annual Meeting

This is a photo of Christine Yager

Christine Yager

Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Associate Transportation Researcher Christine Yager gave a presentation, “The Effects of Reading and Writing Text-Based Messages While Driving,” at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. The meeting was held in Boston, MA, October 22–26 and was attended by more than 1,450 participants from the United States and around the world.

According to Yager, the meeting provided an opportunity for colleagues to share information and research on various human factors topics such as distracted driving, which is a major issue among drivers of all ages. TTI Senior Research Scientist Melissa Walden also attended the meeting.

Yager presented the results of a project that assessed the distraction potential of reading and writing text-based messages while driving under varying roadway and texting response demands.

“I presented the results from our study that looked at the effect of text-based driving,” says Yager. “As part of the presentation I showed three videos that were shot in different experimental conditions: a control, a text-writing, and a text-reading condition.”

Yager says the biggest surprise of the research results was that the response times were even slower than expected compared to previous driving simulator research.

“With the driving simulator, response times were 1–2 seconds, whereas our test track test bed showed an increased response time of 3–4 seconds,” says Yager.

Other notable sessions, according to Yager, were a session about agent-based modeling and how safe-driving information is disseminated among social networks, and a driving simulator research session, which explored the possibility of linking two simulators together to create a virtual driving environment with multiple drivers.

“The area of the conference where Christine presented was specifically related to surface transportation and distracted driving provided a central theme in regards to traffic safety,” says Walden. “It was part of a bigger concern about how advancements in technology can help the driver, but must not adversely affect the driver’s vigilance related to primary driving tasks.”

Additional Resources

Christine Yager Presentation (PDF)

2012 Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society website

Texas Transportation Researcher article “It’s Confirmed: Driving’s a Full-Time Job — How Texting Impairs Driving Performance