Speed and reaction behavior in different highway landscapes: A driving simulator study

Objective: Speed and reaction time have an important influence on traffic safety. The highway landscape can affect psychological and physiological characteristics, which are associated with the speed and reaction time of drivers. This study aimed to understand the association between the highway landscape and driving speed and reaction time.

Methods: Two simulation experiments were conducted, referred to as experiment 1 and experiment 2. Forty-four drivers were recruited to participate in the experiments. Based on the road alignment and enclosure degree, in experiment 1 and experiment 2 the highway landscape was divided into 24 and 8 types, respectively. VS-Design was used to establish the virtual scenes. A KMRTDS driving simulator was used to perform the experiments.

Results: Driver reaction time decreased with an increase in the enclosure degree of the road. Moreover, in straight sections, the speed decreased with an increase in the enclosure degree of the road, whereas in curved sections, the speed was mainly affected by the road geometric alignment.

Conclusions: The driver’s perceived ability was significantly affected by the highway landscape, and optimization of the highway landscape environment is necessary to promote transportation efficiency and improve the traffic safety situation.