Almost 60 years ago, the Federal Government began conducting human factors and driver behavior studies to understand the needs and limitations of transportation users under the Bureau of Public Roads, now the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Since then, the Human Factors Program has grown and evolved to meet the needs of the dynamic roadway environment.
The FHWA's Human Factors Team, with support from contractors, has performed numerous studies using a variety of research tools to gain a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of drivers in the context of transportation infrastructure and improvements to enhance travel safety. Research topics have ranged from the development of new traffic control devices, to the potential safety benefits of cooperative driving automation warning systems, to novel intersection designs and signing.
The Evolution of Technology and Tools
The behavioral research tools within the FHWA Human Factors Laboratory have evolved over the years to meet the needs of the program. We strive to build upon existing tools with cutting edge updates and new capabilities. The timeline below provides a snapshot of the evolution of our main research tools over the years.