Minnesota Department of Transportation

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In-Vehicle Dynamic Curve-Speed Warnings at High-Risk Rural Curves

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  03/15/2018


Lane-departure crashes at horizontal curves represent a significant portion of fatal crashes on rural Minnesota roads. Because of this, solutions are needed to aid drivers in identifying upcoming curves and inform them of a safe speed at which they should navigate the curve. One method for achieving this that avoids costly infrastructure-based methods is to use in-vehicle technology to display dynamic curve-speed warnings to the driver. Such a system would consist of a device located in the vehicle capable of providing a visual and auditory warning to the driver when approaching a potentially hazardous curve at an unsafe speed. This project seeks to determine the feasibility of in-vehicle dynamic curve-speed warnings as deployed on a smartphone app. The system was designed to maximize safety and efficacy to ensure that system warnings are appropriate, timely, and non-distracting to the driver. The developed system was designed and implemented based on the results of a literature survey and a usability study. The developed system was evaluated by 24 Minnesota drivers in a controlled pilot study at the Minnesota Highway Safety and Research Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The results of the pilot study showed that, overall, the pilot study participants liked the system and found it useful. Analysis of quantitative driver behavior metrics showed that when receiving appropriately placed warnings, drivers navigated horizontal curves 8-10% slower than when not using the system. These findings show that such a curve-speed warning system would be useful, effective, and safe for Minnesota drivers.

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