Age and Disease Effects on Estimates of Vehicle Time-to-Arrival


Vercruyssen, M., Siu, K., China, C., Masaki, K., Hoffman, E., Blanchette, P.L., & Hancock, P.A. (1998). Age and disease effects on estimates of vehicle time-to-arrival. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 46(9), P318.

     Vehicle-pedestrian collisions are often caused by an inability of the pedestrians (and drivers) to correctly estimate the time-to-arrival (TTA) of an approaching objects. Little is known about life span changes in the ability to correctly estimate TTA. This research examines age and disease effects on the perception of TTA as a function of vehicle approach velocity and headway distance when image is occluded.
     188 (93 female & 95 male) have been tested to date: 172 healthy community volunteer controls (ages: 5-7, 9-11, 15-19, 20-30, 31-50, 51-70, 71-90 years) and 16 patients diagnosed with mild Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Participants viewed video clips of vehicles approaching from three distances (occlusion headway at 20, 60, 100m) and four velocities (~7, 10, 12 & 15 m/s) and were asked to press a button when they estimated the vehicle would pass before them (TTA in msec).
     Results revealed that nearly all participants underestimated actual duration of TTA, females were slightly worse than males, and that estimates were most accurate for the 20-50 year olds and got worse for the younger and older groups. Accuracy of TTA improves into the teen years and deteriorates in later adulthood. PD cases performed as well or better than their controls, suggesting no sensory or perceptual impairments, despite obvious motor system disabilities.
     These findings aid development of effective screening tools to determine an individual’s fitness to execute critical timing maneuvers, especially in a ascertaining fitness-to-drive, and in modeling live span changes in time perception and information processing capabilities. They also help in extension of the number of years of effective mobility and safe driving by teenagers, the elderly, and the disabled.

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