In-vehicle information systems to improve traffic safety in road tunnels

Geva Vashitz, David Shinar, Yuval Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Introduction: In-vehicle information systems can improve safety, improve driver's situational awareness and reduce anxiety, but they may also increase mental workload and distraction. This issue is particularly important in road tunnels because they create extremely dangerous driving conditions. Goals: To evaluate the effect of in-vehicle displays on driving safety in road tunnels, this paper address two questions: (1) can we still add information to in-vehicle displays without compromising safety? and (2) if information can still be added, how much information should added? Method: We simulated tunnel driving and evaluated the effects of driving performance with innovative in-vehicle displays in terms of safety and satisfaction. We compared a highly informative display and a minimal information display with driving without a display as a control. Results: Using the displays, drivers improved their speed control but had some difficulty in maintaining lane stability, apparently due to some distraction imposed by the displays. Yet, neither of them increased the mental workload relative to driving without a display. The drivers found the in-vehicle displays useful and responded well to the presented information. The drivers preferred the more informative display to the minimalist display, although it slightly increased distraction from road. Conclusions: In light of the potential benefits of in-vehicle displays, the level of distraction was relatively minor and should not compromise driving safety. Apparently, the highly informative display provided drivers with more information that reduced anxiety and boredom, which are common psychological experiences during tunnel driving. Thus, safety-related information displays can be added to improve safety even when some of their benefits are offset by increased distraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • In-vehicle information systems (IVIS)
  • Intelligent transport systems (ITS)
  • Road tunnels
  • Traffic safety
  • Visual displays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Applied Psychology


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