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Experimental evaluation of ITST based school bus stop notifications for car drivers

: Diederichs, Frederik; Weber, Betina; Ganzhorn, Melanie

Vinel, Alexey (Editor); Berbineau, Marion (Editor) ; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-:
11th International Conference on Intelligent Transport Systems Telecommunications, ITST 2011. Proceedings : International Forum on Recent Advances in Information and Communication Technologies for Safe, Efficient and Green Transport. August 23-25, 2011, St. Petersburg, Russia
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61284-670-5
International Conference on Intelligent Transport Systems Telecommunications (ITST) <11, 2011, St. Petersburg>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAO ()

Bus Stops for school busses incorporate a special risk to school children. Most accidents on the way to school occur at or close to the school bus stops. Modern ITS telecommunication technology can be applied to make bus stops safer and inform car drivers about dangerous bus stops on their route. In order to raise the acceptance of speed limits at bus stops it can help to reliably inform the drivers if there are actually children close to the bus stop. When no children are using the bus stop the traffic can circulate without special precautions. Modern ITST technology can be used to detect the presence of school children. In a European funded project within FP7 framework the Amparo Solutions tagbased technology is used to detect nearby children who carry a radio transmitter. A bus stop unit receives this information and can activate special warnings to the surrounding traffic. In the current paper an empirical experimental study is described where 3 warning conditions have been compared in a driving simulator: a school bus stop sign, a school bus stop sign with flashing lights on top of it and a school bus stop sign in combination with an invehicle information design. The experimental design allows comparison of driver behavior at bus stops with and without children under the three different warning conditions. Dependent variables are: speed, lateral distance, reaction time to a child jumping on the street and the number of collisions. Overall 60 drivers participate to the driving simulator study. This number allows statistical evidence on the safety effects of different bus stop warnings. Results show that the two warning strategies are highly effective in terms of speed reduction in comparison to not providing any special warning about the children. The comparison of the two warning strategies (road sign with lightning and in-vehicle information) show no significant differences in driver behavior and very small effect sizes. In conclusion either system can be applied to reduce the speed when passing by bus stops with children, the number of collisions however could not be reduced significantly in this study.