Austroads: Transport Research and Trends

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Perceptual Countermeasure Treatments to Reduce Crash Risks in Tunnels

March 29, 2022

Road tunnels are major pieces of infrastructure across the road network, and the number of tunnels is expected to increase in the coming years. Although they are relatively safe, a significant number of crashes occur on the approaches to and within tunnels.

Austroads commissioned the University of New South Wales, Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI) to investigate and evaluate the application of low-cost perceptual countermeasure (PCM) treatments in road tunnel environments as a means of improving driver speed behaviour, alertness and lane discipline, thereby reducing crash risk. The project involved two key research activities.

Research Activity 1 involved a systematic literature review and stakeholder consultation. Based on the outputs of these activities, three PCM treatments were selected for evaluation in a virtual reality driving simulator: Striped Wall Pattern; Rumble Strips (Edgeline and Centreline); and Pacemaker Lighting.

Research Activity 2 involved an experimental study conducted in the virtual reality driving simulator, located at rCITI. The virtual 3D environment for the driving simulator was based on the cross-sectional layout and alignments of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. Driving performance data as well as subjective feedback from participants relating to their interaction with the PCM treatments were collected and analysed.

This webinar provides an overview of the two research activities and the key findings deriving from them. It is presented by Professor Michael Regan, Julius Secadiningrat, Dr. Prasannah Prabhakharan, and Mitchell Cunningham.