Research Project

Driver behavior study in India

Dinesh Mohan, GeetamTiwari, Sudipto Mukherjee and Subhashish Banerjee

Project Details

While intelligent driver assist and active safety systems have significant potential in reducing fatalities and injuries in road traffic crashes, researchers are trying to determine the best way to warn drivers of dangerous situations and assist in correcting errors. Experiments in laboratory settings may not reproduce how drivers respond on the road in different traffic conditions involving widely varying modal shares and road user densities. In view of the above concerns, the present project proposes to analyse driver response to a few selected technologies in Indian conditions.
Problem statement
1. Nissan has started domestic sales of cars in India and hopes to define road safety targets to reduce  accidents and fatalities, and to develop technologies that will be effective in India. However, the information about road safety and applicability of new technologies in India is limited.
2. Nissan has launched ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) technologies into the market mainly in mainly in US and Japan markets. To develop ADAS for India, following issues need be studied: (1) Traffic accident data to focus on to enhanced safety (2) Social and driver acceptance of ADAS technologies which have been already developed (3) Specific opportunity and issues for India (4) Driver behaviour characteristics in India 

A. Understand driver behaviour characteristics in India to help introduce advanced driver  assistance systems (ADAS).
B. The following issues will be addressed through driver behaviour analysis:
1) Clarify acceptance and characteristics of the systems that are under development and would be
introduced to India (BSW, FCW, LDW, Parking).
2) Extract features of peculiar driver behaviour and seek opportunities of unique support function for

The invention of the internal combustion engine in the nineteenth century changed the way people travel forever. For the first time in human history it became possible for human beings to achieve travel speeds an order of magnitude greater than they had ever experienced before.
Road transport makes it easier for us to have access to jobs, schooling, markets, and leisure time
activities and helps economic growth. However, now there are serious concerns about the detrimental impact of transport on human health and the environment. The negative externalities include: accidents, air pollution, congestion, climate change, noise, and spoiling of the landscape and urban environment.
More recently, concerns about global warming focused our attention on transport as it accounts for
about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide from fuel burnt on the roads by vehicles.
Of all these, three main concerns dominate the thinking of the designers of vehicles and transport
systems – reductions in crash injuries, emissions and congestion on roads. Over the past decade
advances in computer systems and communication technology have given us a hope that we can accelerate the process to ameliorate the negative externalities motor vehicle transport. All these technologies have been grouped as Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) and encompass a very wide range of technologies. It is expected that when integrated into the transportation system's infrastructure, and in vehicles themselves, these technologies will help relieve congestion, reduce pollution and increase safety.

ITS and behaviour adaptation
The use of ITS in transportation has excited a host of expectations based on the sophistication and
attractiveness of the technologies involved. In addition, the producers and marketers of these
technologies have at times introduced unnecessary hype in what is possible in the future. The results have been mixed. The less than expected performance in the real world for some promised solutions is partly because human beings change behaviour when the system around them changes. In other words, people adapt to what other people and technologies require of them to function according to their own expectations. Such adaptations produce unintended or unexpected results. 

Traffic management
• Traffic signal optimization and coordination
• Monitoring traffic conditions and controlling traffic entering highways and arterials
• Automated incident detection for quicker response by police and other agencies
• Route guidance and highway information
Some of the systems used are ? adaptive control strategies (ACS), advanced traveller information
systems (ATIS) and incidence detection systems (IDS). A study published by the Department of
Transportation of the U.S.A. (What have we learned about intelligent transportation systems) gives the following assessment:
ACS: Limited deployment because of high cost, complexity of technology and perceived lack of benefits. Jury is still out—has shown benefits in some cases, cost still a prohibitive factor, some doubt among practitioners on its effectiveness.
ATIS: Moderate deployment. There is limited deployment of appropriate surveillance, and there is
difficulty in accurately describing arterial congestion. Holds promise—new surveillance technology
likely to increase the quality and quantity of arterial information.

It will be some time before the effects of the new ITS solutions are established from real world  
studies as many parameters need to be stabilised. This would be particularly true for Indian 
driving conditions. Of concern are:
• Heterogeneous traffic.
• Very high proportion of road users outside the car.
• Absence of road markings on many roads.
• Low penetration of ITS technologies on the roadway system.
• High proportion of A & B class cars that are unlikely to include the more expensive ITS
In the short term, however, it is possible that certain aspects of the indirect impact of ITS on road
safety can be identified with the use of analyses including the application of surrogate or proxy
methods even in the cases when systems are still being at a prototype level. The issues to be addressed are added feeling of security that some drivers may experience when using a given ITS. However, choice of technologies would be influenced by share of different types of vehicles on Indian roads. 

ITS is obviously going to play an increasingly important role in transportation. It is going to be
relatively more successful in vehicle based systems and in revenue collection. As far as immediate
implementation is concerned in low and middle income countries ITS in public transport systems is likely to provide the biggest benefits. For congestion relief and safety, behaviour adaptation is going to be the most unpredictable issue. The other important concern is level of market penetration required to make some of the technologies useable especially in low and middle income countries because of cost and in some cases issues of privacy. The impact of sophisticated technologies and vehicle based systems can take a long time and the effects will be limited if too few cars are equipped with the necessary electronic systems. It is clear that the richer societies will experiment with and spend a large amount of funds on ITS. In low and middle income countries the decisions will have to be based on the concept of public goods versus private goods. Route guidance systems are certainly a private good, how much they contribute to the public good is open to debate. Pollution reduction and safety promotion by vehicle based technologies would be a public good. But, in those societies, where a vast majority of crash victims are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, a technology that saves car occupants only becomes less of a public good. Choices have to be made, and the near future they point to a focus on ITS in public transport systems, pollution control by vehicle based technologies, and safety promotion by use of ITS in limiting speeds and controlling drunk driving.
Pedestrian warning will be the most important intervention, because we expect that the future crash patterns in India will not be very different from the current patterns which show the predominance of pedestrians, bicyclists and two wheelers as victims. Vehicle occupants may increase from current 3% to 5%. In urban areas, mid block crashes are 3?4 times more than the intersection crashes. Following areas will need special attention: 
(1) Pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non?motorists in urban areas. This group of road users currently accounts for about 60% of all fatalities in urban areas, substantially more than in most high?income countries.
(2) Pedestrians, other non?motorists, and slow vehicles on national highways. Evidence suggests that a high percentage (about 20?40%) of fatalities on highways consist of pedestrians, bicyclists, other non?motorists, and occupants of slow vehicles. The problems associated with pedestrians and other non? motorists on highways are inherently different from the problems in urban areas. Therefore, it is appropriate to deal with these two problems separately. 
(3) Motorcycles and small cars in urban areas. Motorcyclists represent a large portion of urban
fatalities (about 25%). The expected partial shift of motorcyclists to small cars is of concern,
because although small cars provide more protection to the occupants, they are expected to be more harmful than motorcycles to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorcyclists unless vehicle fronts are designed to be more forgiving.
(4) Over?involvement of trucks and buses in fatal crashes. Several studies indicate that the
involvement of trucks in fatal crashes is greater than would be expected based only on their exposure.
(5) Nighttime driving: visibility, alcohol, and fatigue. Evidence suggests that, as is the case in
other countries, nighttime driving in India is substantially riskier than daytime driving. Three
aspects are of relevance here: conspicuity of road users, driving under the influence of alcohol, and fatigue of truck drivers. The available data do not allow us to quantify the individual contribution of each of these aspects. 
(6) Wrong?way drivers on divided highways. A large proportion of fatalities on divided highways are from head?on collisions( 19%).

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