Effects of Work Zone Configurations and Traffic Density on Performance Variables and Subjective WorkloadAuthor/Presenter: Shakouri, Mahmoud; Ikuma, Laura H.; Aghazadeh, Fereydoun; Punniaraj, Karthy; Ishak, Sherif
This paper investigates the effect of changing work zone configurations and traffic density on performance variables and subjective workload. Data regarding travel time, average speed, maximum percent braking force and location of lane changes were collected by using a full size driving simulator. The NASA-TLX was used to measure self-reported workload ratings during the driving task. Conventional lane merge (CLM) and joint lane merge (JLM) were modeled in a driving simulator, and thirty participants (seven female and 23 male), navigated through the two configurations with two levels of traffic density. The mean maximum braking forces was 34% lower in the JLM configuration, and drivers going through the JLM configuration remained in the closed lane longer. However, no significant differences in speed were found between the two merge configurations. The analysis of self-reported workload ratings show that participants reported 15.3% lower total workload when driving through the JLM. In conclusion, the implemented changes in the JLM make it a more favorable merge configuration in both high and low traffic densities in terms of optimizing traffic flow by increasing the time and distance cars use both lanes, and in terms of improving safety due to lower braking forces and lower reported workload.