Academic journal article Human Factors

An On-the-Road Comparison of In-Vehicle Navigation Assistance Systems

Academic journal article Human Factors

An On-the-Road Comparison of In-Vehicle Navigation Assistance Systems

Article excerpt


One of the more interesting advances in transportation over the past decade is the introduction of intelligent transportation systems. Of particular interest is the flurry of activity directed at developing advanced traveler information systems (ATISs), especially systems that provide in-vehicle navigation assistance to drivers. These systems are designed to "acquire, analyze, communicate, and present information for use in assisting surface transportation travelers in moving from a starting location to their destination" (IVHS America, 1992, p. III-21). In other words, navigational ATISs give optimal route guidance information to destinations selected by the driver. As noted by several researchers (e.g., Eby, 1997; Fastenmeier, Hailer, & Lerner, 1994; Inman, Sanchez, Porter, & Bernstein, 1995; IVHS America, 1992; Kantowitz, Kantowitz, & Hanowski, 1995; Kostyniuk, Eby, Christoff, Hopp, & Streff, 1997; Smiley, Vernet, Labiale, & Pauzie, 1994; Srinivasan, Landau, & Jovanis, 1995; Walker, Alicandri, Sedney, & Roberts, 1990), the potential advantages of optimal routing are greater ease in finding destinations, fewer trips in which a driver gets lost, less complicated routes, avoidance of traffic congestion, shorter distance routes, shorter duration routes, greater confidence while driving, and less stressful driving. Collectively, these advantages potentially have the additional benefits of decreased fuel consumption and air pollution, less overall traffic congestion, and increased traffic safety. Understanding how people use ATISs and what they think about ATISs is of paramount importance in the development of systems that will provide these benefits.

Several in-vehicle navigation assistance systems have been developed in recent years. A basic difference among many of these systems is in their ability to use traffic conditions in determining the optimal route. Static route guidance systems determine the optimal route between some origin and destination (O-D) without taking into account traffic conditions that may be encountered during the trip. Systems that have the ability to use information about potential or actual traffic conditions to decide the optimal route are typically called dynamic route guidance systems. Because there is little agreement on the definition of dynamic route guidance (see, e.g., Eby, Kostyniuk, Christoff, Hopp, & Streff, 1997; Schofer, Koppelman, Webster, Berka, & Peng, 1996), we define the phrase broadly as route guidance that includes any traffic congestion information, including predictions of recurrent traffic congestion and real-time information that conveys both recurrent and nonrecurrent traffic congestion.

Further, some systems have information about the vehicle's location (e.g., through the satellite Global Positioning System [GPS] or dead reckoning) and can guide a driver by giving verbal and visual navigation instructions during the trip. Other systems show the entire route or set of navigation instructions to the driver in advance and give no additional guidance information during the trip.

Only a handful of studies have investigated the relative effectiveness of different navigational ATISs in providing some or all of the advantages discussed previously when tested under actual driving conditions (e.g., Eby, Kostyniuk, Christoff, et al., 1997; Fastenmeier et al., 1994; Inman et al., 1995; Parkes, Ashby, & Fairclough, 1991; Schofer et al., 1996).

Schofer et al. (1996) studied the relative performance of an ATIS that was configured two different ways. In the first configuration, the ADVANCE system provided dynamic routing information while the driver drove to a specified destination that was based on both historic and real-time traffic information; that is, the configuration was able to use information about both recurrent and nonrecurrent traffic congestion information in route calculation. …

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