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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using Interactive Simulation to Model Driver Behavior Under ATIS


This paper discusses the development and implementation of FASTCARS (Freeway and Arterial Street Traffic Conflict Arousal and Resolution Simulator), an interactive microcomputer-based animated simulator designed for in-laboratory experimentation and data collection to assist in the estimation and calibration of predictive models of driver behavior under the influence or real-time information.

Limited real-world implementation of Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) technologies has made it difficult to analyze the potential impact on driver behavior. It is contended here that in-laboratory experimentation with interactive animated route choice simulators can substitute for the lack of real-work applications and provide a useful approach to data collection and driver behavior analysis.

The advantages of using FASTCARS over other data collection methods to study driver behavior are realized through the program's flexibility and completeness. FASTCARS combines a real-time interactive driving simulation program using a graphics-type interface with visual and audio effects to imitate enroute travel decision making. The simulation encompasses the entire driving process from pre-trip planning through arrival at the destination. Players are required to make a broad range of choices including goal specification, route and lane changes, and whether to use available information technologies. To model the impacts of real-time traffic condition information on driving behavior, FASTCARS emulates three types of ATIS: Variable Message Signs, In-vehicle Navigation Systems, and Highway Advisory Radio.

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