American Society of Civil Engineers

The Human Factor in the Evaluation of a Road Layout in a Virtual Environment: A Case Study

by M. Pasetto, (Professor, Dept. of Structural and Transportation Engineering — Univ. of Padua, Via Marzolo, 9 - 35131 Padova (I). E-mail:, L. Gamberini, (Associate Professor, Dept. of General Psychology — University of Padua, Via Venezia, 12 - 35130 Padova (I). E-mail:, and S. D. Barbati, Ph.D., (Dept. of Structural and Transportation Engineering — University of Padua, Via Marzolo, 9 -35131 Padova (I). E-mail:
Section: Infrastructure and Transportation Sustainability, pp. 694-703, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: ICSDC 2011: Integrating Sustainability Practices in the Construction Industry
Abstract: The paper discusses the mechanisms based on visual stimuli that influence driver behavior and, subsequently, vehicle speed and trajectory. Road layout (i.e. the alternation of curves and tangents) must be designed in regard to a correct perception of the perspective sight. In order to consider the road from this point of view, experimental surveys have been conducted in a virtual environment (driving simulator), where real layouts have been reproduced and submitted to changes in their geometry (radii, tangent length, etc). Driver reaction in different environments has been monitored. Attention was particularly paid to the vehicular speed (always higher than the legal speed), because this parameter modifies the sight and hides layout variations, inducing a poor understanding of the limits of the occupied lane. The driving simulator proved to be a tool that can be used for the laboratory reproduction of risk situations.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Human factors
Highways and roads
Case studies
Driver behavior
Sustainable development