The purpose of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of four procedures for the assessment of driving task load in terms of their ability to validly and reliably discriminate between traffic areas of significantly different characteristics. A further goal of this study was to test a theory of speed control which would suggest that drivers attempt to minimize variance in driving task load across equal temporal sections of travel; or that there is an exchange function between speed and driving task load. Analyses of variance on the driving task load measures show that (for spatial blocking of data) heart rate, as well as measures of variability for both heart rate and verbal tapping, produce significant discrimination among the four traffic routes used. Attention task scores discriminated between only the extremes of difference in traffic complexity. Random generation produced no discrimination among the traffic routes used. Thus, of the four evaluated, cardiovascular and verbal tapping measures are shown to be the most useful for the assessment of driving task load, and the most desirable for future experimentation in this field. The results of the study are discussed in terms of the implications for task load assessment theory, further research, and application to traffic safety problems.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The report was prepared by the Queen's University Department of Psychology Task Force under contract to the Ministry of Transport.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transport Canada

    Road and Motor Vehicle Traffic Safety Branch
    Ottawa, ONo K1A 0N5,   Canada 
  • Authors:
    • CURRY, G A
    • Hieatt, D J
    • WILDE, GJS
  • Publication Date: 1975-7-31

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 269 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00141679
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: CR 7504
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 22 1976 12:00AM