USDOT Region V Regional University Transportation Center

Driving Simulator Experiment

Welcome to Driving Simulator Experiment website. The purpose of this experiment is to study driver response to real-time travel information. This can improve the understanding of the human-machine interactions on driver’s cognitive state, and its implications on route choice decisions and travel experience. Your participation would be greatly appreciated as it can contribute to the development of improved travel information delivery systems from human factors perspective, and designing human-machine interfaces for self-driving vehicles to enhance safety, user experience and trust in technology which is critical for their success and wider adoption.

Step 1: Online Survey

To participate in the experiment, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver’s license and do not wear corrective glasses while driving or watching television; contact lenses are allowed. In addition, you should not have mental or physical impairment, or are on regular medication that cannot be stopped as your brain electrical activity pattern may be different under these conditions. You are required to complete an online survey, which asks for your socio-economic characteristics, travel behavior, preferences and attitude towards real-time information. If you have a medical history of simulation sickness, you are advised not to participate in this study.

Step 2: Schedule an Appointment

Through a link after you finish the survey or by clicking the link below, you can schedule your appointment to visit NEXTRANS Center in Purdue Research Park for participating in the experiment. The total experiment time at the Center can take about three to four hours. We recommend you to read the following instructions before visiting to the Center.

Step 3: Before Visiting to the Center

Before visiting for the experiment, you need to take the following preparatory actions:

Step 4: Introduction and Practice Session

At the Center, you will be briefed about the experiment process followed by a practice session. Through the practice session, you will get used to operating the simulator vehicle and driving in simulated traffic environment. If you feel any simulation sickness (such as dizziness or nausea) during the experiment, you can withdraw from participation.

Step 5: Equipping Biosensors and Baseline Test

After completing the practice session, you will be equipped with biosensor devices, which includes electroencephalogram (EEG), electrocardiogram (ECG) and eye-tracker. This step requires the application of conducting gel between the skin and EEG/ECG sensors. You will be provided with verbal and graphical information on the placement location of ECG sensors (one at lowest left rib and another at right collar bone). You can then choose to either apply the sensors yourself privately in a closed room or ask for supervisor’s help to apply the sensors. Supervisor of the same gender can apply sensors upon request. The sensors data will be calibrated and validated, and a re-adjustment in sensors location will be made if the quality of sensor data is not satisfactory. After equipped with biosensor devices, you will be asked to complete a baseline test for EEG, which will require you to perform some basic tasks.

EEG Eye Tracker
Electroencephalogram (EEG) Eye tracker

Step 6: Driving Simulator Experiment

Then, you will be assigned three to four driving scenarios. In each scenario, you may face different traffic conditions, and may or may not receive real-time travel information. You are expected to drive and make route choice decisions realistically. Your driving behavior will be automatically monitored by our system, and speeding, collisions or any other traffic violations will be penalized by a reduction in your final compensation. This is to discourage participants from treating the simulator like a game.

After each experiment run, you need to answer a short post-run survey that will ask you about your perception of real-time travel information, and travel experience. There will be a five-minute break between two consecutive experimental driving runs. During the experiment, your driving maneuvers and facial expressions will be recorded. All the data collected will be kept confidential, and will be de-identified upon completion of our experiments (expected in January 2018).

Step 7: Compensation

After you complete the experiment, your compensation will be calculated based on your driving performance and not on your route choices. The cash compensation ranges from $10 to $60. If a significant inconsistent driving behavior across the runs is observed (e.g., treating as a game), your final compensation may be considerably deducted in addition to the detected violations. Uncompleted simulation runs, late arrival to the destination in the experiment, collisions or rash driving, and inconsistent driving behavior across simulation runs will lead to compensation deduction as well. If your compensation is more than $50, you are also eligible to enter a lottery drawing for one of two Apple iPad Minis which will be announced upon completion of our experiments.

Step 8: Before You Leave

We recommend you to stay at the Center for 15 to 30 minutes before you drive or you can ask someone to pick you up to avoid the possibility that you may not be adequately recalibrated to real-world driving.

Please contact Shubham Agrawal ( in case you have any questions.