Location

Park City, Utah

Date

22-7-2003

Session

Session 1 - Lectures - (Distraction and Workload)

Abstract

High traffic density can be expected to increase the attentional processing requirements of driving. Establishing methods of assessing the differential demands placed on drivers by environmental variables has been the focus of a recent series of investigations. Results of an initial examination of the impact of traffic density on mental workload are reported here. The current investigation utilizes an array of methodological assessment techniques and compares the sensitivity of each to changes in attentional processing requirements as a function of driving task demand. Analogous versions of a visual and auditory sensory detection task were developed and used in a dual task paradigm involving simulated driving. P300 amplitude, though in the predicted direction, failed to distinguish between increased task demands resulting from increases in traffic density. Response time and accuracy to the detection task in both visual and auditory modalities demonstrated significant processing decrements as a function of increased traffic density. Subjective workload ratings obtained from the NASA TLX did not distinguish between driving task difficulty, but indicated that performing the visual detection task in combination with driving was perceived as more difficult than performing the concurrent auditory task. Implications of these results for modeling differential aspects of mental workload and for establishing workload assessment techniques for surface transportation environments are discussed.

Rights

Copyright © 2003 the authors

DC Citation

Proceedings of the Second International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training and Vehicle Design, July 21-24, 2003, Park City, Utah. Iowa City, IA: Public Policy Center, of Iowa, 2003: 19-24.

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Jul 22nd, 12:00 AM

Mental Workload as a Function of Traffic Density: Comparison of Physiological, Behavioral, and Subjective Indices

Park City, Utah

High traffic density can be expected to increase the attentional processing requirements of driving. Establishing methods of assessing the differential demands placed on drivers by environmental variables has been the focus of a recent series of investigations. Results of an initial examination of the impact of traffic density on mental workload are reported here. The current investigation utilizes an array of methodological assessment techniques and compares the sensitivity of each to changes in attentional processing requirements as a function of driving task demand. Analogous versions of a visual and auditory sensory detection task were developed and used in a dual task paradigm involving simulated driving. P300 amplitude, though in the predicted direction, failed to distinguish between increased task demands resulting from increases in traffic density. Response time and accuracy to the detection task in both visual and auditory modalities demonstrated significant processing decrements as a function of increased traffic density. Subjective workload ratings obtained from the NASA TLX did not distinguish between driving task difficulty, but indicated that performing the visual detection task in combination with driving was perceived as more difficult than performing the concurrent auditory task. Implications of these results for modeling differential aspects of mental workload and for establishing workload assessment techniques for surface transportation environments are discussed.