Psychology and Road Design

I include slides and notes from a presentation I gave to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South East England branch at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Gatwick on 21st May 2013

Round where I live, speed limits on many rural roads have been reduced with the aim of improving safety. However, all the local highway authority does is put up speed limit signs without any other speed reduction measures. Experience suggests that this is insufficient and many drivers simply ignore these new speed limits. Hardly very safe

So this prompted me to do some research into the psychology of driver behaviour, for example why we speed, and if using this information could help road designers and highway authorities provide safer roads through a mix of measures - not relying solely on reducing speed limits

For this presentation I carried out a speed survey and local residents' survey of a recent speed reduction scheme in West Sussex (see below) and obtained some interesting results

I hope you'll find this presentation interesting and informative. Certainly for me, carrying out this research has opened my eyes - I only wish it would also open the eyes of my local councillors who decide our local speed limits...

Psychology and Road Design


The presentation is divided into four sections

Introduction briefly looks at what psychology is and how using it can help create safer and more effective road layouts

'To err is human' looks at the psychology behind human error, why road users make mistakes, and how understanding this can help us design better roads. This section ends with a case study of a Wal-Mart car park in Mississippi

'Breaking the law' looks at why road users don't obey the rules. This section ends with a case study of a village speed reduction scheme in West Sussex

Conclusion includes suggested further reading if you want to find out more about this topic

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