Driving simulator lab

The driving simulator laboratory is used by staff and students as a tool for conducting research into core areas of psychology, such as traffic and transport and health and behaviour change. Research within the lab aims to help understand human behaviour in the context of driving and identify effective ways to enhance safe road use.

What is the driving simulator?

The driving simulator is a STISIM Drive Model 400W fixed-based simulator. Features include:

  • a three-screen, high resolution display, providing 135-degree forward visual field-of-view
  • an auditory and steering wheel feedback
  • fully operational driving controls (steering wheel, brake, clutch, accelerator, gear stick, horn, speedometer, and tachometer)

What situations can be simulated?

We can simulate a range of roadway environments, such as urban, suburban, rural and motorway as well as simulating custom events, such as hazardous situations that would not be possible to stage in the real world.

Physical features of the driving environment can also be shown in line with standard highway engineering specifications, like junctions, traffic lights, crossings, signage, and horizontal and vertical curvature. A range of road and weather conditions and intelligent traffic and pedestrians can also be demonstrated.

What can the simulator measure?

The simulator records many different measures of driver behaviour such as:

  • speed
  • following distances
  • lateral positioning
  • traffic law infringements
  • vehicle performance, eg emissions

These are recorded on a moment-by-moment basis, in a safe and controlled environment which allows us to carry out research that would not be possible to carry out on the road.

The simulator also has a range of built-in secondary assessments and can measure drivers’ performance on these whilst interacting with the simulated world.

It can be used along with other equipment in the school, including our eye-tracking equipment to measure drivers’ allocation of visual attention and gaze. The simulator can also be used with our Biopac MP35 system to get psycho-physiological indicators of stress, cognitive load or emotional responses to driving events.

Current research

We are working on a number of different projects including:

  • testing the conditional and unconditional effects of implementation intentions on drivers’ speeding behaviour
  • do self-regulation and negative rumination moderate the effects of implementation intentions on driver behaviour?
  • what mediates what? Using an extended theory of planned behaviour to mediate the effects of demographic variables on observed driver behaviour
  • elderly stereotypes and driving behaviour

Contact us

Room 676
Graham Hills Building
40 George Street
G1 1QE

+44 (0) 141 548 2700