Assisting Elder Drivers' Comprehension of Dynamic Message Sign Messages

A human factors study was conducted to seek ways to assist elder drivers’ understanding of dynamic message sign (DMS) messages. The study employed a computer based questionnaire survey and a driving simulation experiment to measure drivers’ preferences and responses to various DMS displays and formats, the results of which are included in this paper. While the age of the subjects studied ranged between 20 and 94, results for drivers over 60 were of special concern. The survey assessed drivers’ preferences toward different types of graphics, use of graphics in place of text, color of the message, color of the graphic, message flashing, animation, text alignment, abbreviations, shadowing, and wording sequence. Sixty subjects from Rhode Island participated in the survey. Survey results indicated that drivers preferred text only messages compared with messages displaying graphics in place of text, and preferred animated graphics over stationary ones. Subjects differed on their preferences toward color, however. The same sixty subjects also participated in the video based driving simulation experiment to measure their responses to DMS displays in different colors and graphical formats. Results from the driving simulation experiment demonstrate that drivers responded faster to amber messages and messages that use graphics in place of text. Older drivers responded slower and less accurately than younger drivers, but their response time and accuracy improved with the use of graphics in the DMS messages. Correlations and discrepancies between the results of the survey and simulation are also discussed.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Transportation Center, Carlotti Administration Building
    75 Lower College Road
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881

    Rhode Island Department of Transportation

    State Office Building, 2 Capitol Hill
    Providence, RI  United States  02903

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Wang, Jyh-Hone
    • Collyer, Charles E
    • Clark, Aaron T
  • Publication Date: 2007-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Bibliography; Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 199p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01140458
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: URITC FY 06
  • Contract Numbers: URITC 500230500000001026
  • Created Date: Sep 21 2009 9:55AM