Assessment of driver's mental effort while driving roads of different complexity

T Oron-Gilad, D Shinar, Y Casstuto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The study was composed of two experiments. Experiment 1 focused on physiological strain induced by driving compared to rest. Experiment 2 focused on assessing driver strain while driving two roads of different complexity. In experiment 2, two assessment techniques were used: subjective performance-based measures and physiological measures. Five subjects participated in the first experiment. The results showed that heart rate variability (HRV) was significantly lower during driving compared to rest mainly due to a decrease in power of the frequency band. Eleven professional drivers participated in experiment 2 of the study. Two simulated roads were designed, a 'low demand' straight monotonous road and a 'high demand' winding road. On two of the five subjective measures - lack of energy and sleepiness, there were significant differences between the two roads. In spite of the differences in road complexity and driving demands, the drivers were able to maintain a constant level of performance throughout each road. However, the difference between the demands of the road were manifested in the physiological measurements. While HRV increased during the drive using the low demand drive it remained significantly lower than rest and decreased during the drive while driving the high demand road. These results indicate an increase of physiological strain in order to maintain good performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Factors in Transportation, Communication, Health and the Workplace.
StatePublished - 2002


  • Complex variables
  • Driving
  • Heart rate
  • Highway curves
  • Highway design
  • Human factors
  • Performance evaluations
  • Stress (Physiology)


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