Initial research suggests that most drivers will respond to intersection collision warning systems and slow or stop appropriately.

22-26 January 2006
United States

Summary Information

Two studies were conducted to provide partial validation for the concept of an intersection collision warning system to alert potential victims of red-light violators. The studies presented are intended to contribute to the development of an infrastructure-based countermeasure to straight crossing-path crashes at signalized intersections. These crashes occur when a vehicle violates a red light and collides with a vehicle that has the right-of-way. Assumptions from another study found that if a system could detect 80 percent of all dangerous violations, and then warn both the violator and the potential victim, a substantial portion of collisions might be avoided.(1) The research presented in this latest study examines how potential victims of these crashes might react to this type of countermeasure.

The first study was conducted using a driving simulator and the second study was conducted as a field test on a closed-road. The field study examined whether the responses obtained in the simulation could reasonably be expected outside of the simulation laboratory. The countermeasure examined in the report used sensors to detect the speed of vehicles approaching a red traffic signal, a processor and algorithm to compute the likelihood that these vehicles will stop, and infrastructure-based lights and/or variable message signs to warn both the potential violator and the victim.

Different configurations were examined, including a control condition for both the simulation and the field test. The probabiltiy of response was the only condition for success evaluated in this study. Participants were told that the experiment was an evaluation of signal phase timing. They were not told that an emergency warning would be presented, or that the research concerned red-light running. Simulator data were obtained from 202 participants with older drivers oversampled because of the importance to evaluate older driver behavior. A smaller sample of drivers were used for the field test, with roughly equal numbers of young/middle and older males and females in each group.


In the simulation experiment, drivers were classified as responding as desired to the warnings if they were delayed in reaching the stop bar by a least 1 second relative to the time they would have arrived if they had continued at their current speed. In the field experiment, when the violator warning was triggered at 180 ft (55 m), 27 of the 30 participants (90 percent) stopped. By comparison, in the simulator study, 64 percent of drivers in the two conditions that included an immediate red warning at 180 ft stopped or were delayed by 1 second or more.

The results of the two studies suggest that the majority of drivers may respond appropriately, by stopping or slowing, for an intersection collision warning that they have not experienced before.

(1) Ferlis, R.A., Infrastructure-Based Collision Avoidance Systems. ITE Technical Conference, Palm Harbor, FL, 2002.

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Field and Driving Simulator Validations of System for Warning Potential Victims of Red-Light Violators

Author: Inman, Vaughan W. (SAIC),

Published By: Paper presented at the 85th Annual Transportation Research Board Meeting, Washington, DC. 22-26 January 2006.

Source Date: 22-26 January 2006


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Benefit ID: 2008-00515