Ronald R. Mourant


Yingzi Lin, Sagar Karmarthi

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department or Academic Unit

College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


industrial engineering, game, hazard perception, novice driver


Engineering | Industrial Engineering


Road safety is always of great concern throughout the world. Many efforts have been made by research and laws to keep traffic accident rates low. A topic of interest for many years has been driving behaviors of novice drivers. The accident rate of novice drivers, especially newly licensed teens, is much higher when compared too more experienced drivers. An important reason may be that novice drivers are more likely to fail to identify hazardous situations. My research focuses on how to better prepare teen drivers for real-world driving by improving their hazard perception skills.

Hazard perception skill may be a major factor in young novice drivers' involvement in traffic crashes. In order to better understand hazard perception skill, we made a systematic review of hazard perception related factors and the state of current research on hazard perception training. We believe that novice drivers can be trained to have better hazard awareness skills. A driving game for novice drivers to improve their hazard detection skills has been developed as part of this thesis. The expected side-effects of the game was that 1) novice drivers would detect and react to potential hazardous situations quickly, and 2) the horizontal scan patterns of novice drivers would become wider and "intelligent" in terms of depending on particular driving situations. We found that the fun associated with game playing had positive side effects in terms of detecting hazards while driving.

In order to evaluate hazard perception ability, a hazard perception test has been made based on the US road conditions. The driving video clips in the hazard perception test were filmed in Boston, Massachusetts. Twenty-four Northeastern University undergraduate students participated in the hazard perception experiment in the Virtual Environment Laboratory. Half of the participants were trained using the hazard perception game, and demonstrated improvement in recognizing, and reacting to potential hazards when compared with participants that did not play the game. Also, the scanning strategies of the trained participants improved in terms of increased amounts of wide horizontal scanning. The experimental results conformed that hazard perception skill can be trained, and that our hazard perception game was an effective way to improve hazard perception skill.

Document Type


Rights Information

copyright 2012

Rights Holder

Na Chen

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