Do navigation systems improve traffic safety? Study commissioned by Delta Lloyd, TomTom, Aon and Athlon Car Lease.

Vonk, T. Rooijen, T. van Hogema, J. & Feenstra, P.

The introduction of navigation systems has influenced car driving. The very first navigation systems were built into the more expensive segment of cars, but the introduction of portable navigation systems in 2004 has made them available for many drivers. In 2005 about 10% of the drivers in Europe were using a navigation system. For the Netherlands this number is higher: between 17-22% of the drivers (in the group of men 30-55 years old) owns a navigation system. The use of navigation systems may influence traffic safety. This effect could be positive as well as negative. Navigation systems may have a positive influence on the risk of having an accident. If they help people to reach their destination more quickly, with less driving time, less kilometers and less stress and uncertainty, the probability of having an accident may be decreased. On the other hand the use of navigation systems could lead to negative safety effects. Drivers may be more distracted and pay less attention to the road and surrounding traffic. If the driver is distracted this influences his driving behaviour, which may lead to unsafe situations in traffic. This may then lead to accidents, to damages and damage costs. Although the parallel to the use of mobile phones is often made, this comparison cannot be made. In general, it can be stated that a navigation system should give route information that is related to the driving task, whereas conducting a phone conversation is not driving task related. This research project focuses only on the use of navigation systems. With the above mentioned in mind the main research question of this study is: 'What are the effects of navigation systems on traffic safety?' This research question was divided into five sub questions: I. Does the use of a navigation system reduce the kilometers driven? 2. Does driving behaviour change under influence of a navigation system? 3. Does the use of a navigation system increase the driver awareness and reduce stress? 4. Is a navigation system of influence on the costs of damages? 5. Is the workload of drivers reduced when driving with a navigation system? In our investigations, we used four research methods to investigate these sub questions. • Statistical analysis on a database of damages of Athlon Car Lease. • User survey amongst drivers. • Driving experiment. • International literature quick scan. Overall the results of the four research methods all converge to a positive effect of navigation systems on traffic safety. On average, the Athlon Car Lease database shows there is a positive relationship between the presence of a navigation system and the number of claimed damages per million kilometers driven. The driving experiment shows a reduction in kilometers and a reduction in workload when driving to a destination in unfamiliar areas. The experimenter generally made less remarks concerning inappropriate driving behaviour when driving with the navigation system compared to driving with the conventional aids. The experiment also shows that the mean speed and the driving velocity during a turning manoeuvre were slightly higher when driving with a navigation system compared to conventional aids. A limitation of the experiment was that the drivers in the experiment were asked not to operate the navigation system when driving. The results from the user survey indicate that the users feel more alert and feel less stress when driving and using a navigation system. The user survey and the international literature review are in accordance with the results from the Athlon Car Lease database analysis and the driving experiment. (Author/publisher)

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20070562 ST

Soesterberg, TNO Mobility and Logistics, 2007, XIII + 70 p., 50 ref.; Report TNO 2007-D-R0048/B

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