The Influence of Perceptual Speed Regulation on Speed Perception, Choice, and Control: Tunnel wall characteristics and influences

Manser, M., & Hancock, P.A. (2007). The influence of perceptual speed regulation on speed perception, choice, and control: Tunnel wall characteristics and influences. Accident Analysis and Prevention39(1), 69-78.

The present work sought to determine if the type of visual pattern and presence of texture applied to transportation tunnel walls differentially affected driving performance. Choice of speed and speed control were measured with 32 participants who drove through a simulated transportation tunnel environment. Participants experienced three visual patterns consisting of vertical segments that decreased, increased, and remained a constant width throughout the length of the tunnel. Participants also drove a baseline control condition in which no visual pattern was present. Each of these conditions was presented either with or without a homogenous texture. When compared to the baseline condition, results indicated drivers gradually decreased speed when exposed to the decreasing width visual pattern and increased speed with the increasing width visual pattern. The presence of texture served to attenuate overall driving speed. Results suggest drivers’ perception of speed and their subsequent response to such perceptions were modified by the visual pattern and texture expressed on the tunnel wall. The evident speed control opportunities afforded to the traffic engineer are discussed.

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