Category Archives: Surface Transportation

a man looking through the steering wheel of a car

Conversations and Driver Distraction

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As always, this month has some great articles in Human Factors.

There is one in particular that I want to highlight today. This study investigates the impact of conversation on driving performance.

In the present research, we investigated the hypothesis that working memory mediates conversation-induced impairment of situation awareness (SA) while driving.

many old cars parked in front of meters

The Ethics of Performance versus Principle

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This is another metric tradeoff that is of great interest to me, both professionally and philosophically. What do you do when your design process is faced with a tradeoff between two options: one that will work better but violates a principle that you think is important (but is not formally illegal or unethical) and one that works less well but has no such violations? This is top of mind with me this morning because of a debate we are having in Boston about P2P parking apps like Haystack. If you are unfamiliar with these apps, they allow someone who is leaving a parking spot to announce it on the app network and someone looking for a spot can grab it, for a fee of course.

an image of a man sitting in a large control room

‘Fully Automated’ Might be an Oxymoron

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It is really good to keep in mind, as we migrate to fully automated systems that inevitably a human is going to be forced into the loop by something going wrong or unexpected. When it does, the low situation awareness can be devastating. This article by HFI has some great examples.

a rendering of an intersection showing striped crosswalks and sidewalks

Designing for Pedestrian Safety

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I am really curious what you think about this fundamental rethink of the pedestrian crossing. It was designed by an architectural firm in San Francisco where there is an average of 3 pedestrians hit by cars every day.

A firm called Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects is trying to reduce accidents by rethinking how people get from one side of the street to the other. The company … has come up with a network of pedestrian lanes and planters that blur the usual boundaries ­between walkers and drivers…

pal-v flying car shown driving on the road and flying in the air

Want a Flying Car?

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I am disappointed that the flying car came out in Europe first, although I can’t afford the $400k price tag anyway. “Flying cars have been reserved to science fiction… until now. Pal-V, a Dutch company, has created the world’s first road (and air) legal flying car”…

An image of notes and other brainstorming tools

User Experience in the Mainstream Media

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It was great to read this interview with Michael Heilemann from Squarespace and Aarron Walter from Mailchimp at Fast Company magazine. The takeaway I want to highlight today is that the way these two tech execs define user experience is very interdisciplinary. It involves every area of human factors. As a quick test, I scanned the list of HFES Technical Groups and I couldn’t find one that wasn’t included and essential in their definition…