Traffic psychology is a discipline of psychology that studies the relationship between psychological processes and the behavior of road users. In general, traffic psychology aims to apply theoretical aspects of psychology in order to improve traffic mobility by helping to develop and apply accident countermeasures, as well as by guiding desired behaviors through education and the motivation of road users.
Behavior is frequently studied in conjunction with accident research in order to assess causes and differences in accident involvement. Traffic psychologists distinguish three motivations of driver behavior: reasoned or planned behavior, impulsive or emotional behavior, and habitual behavior. Additionally, social and cognitive applications of psychology are used, such as enforcement, road safety education campaigns, and also therapeutic and rehabilitation programs.
Broad theories of cognition, sensory-motor and neurological aspects psychology are also applied to the field of traffic psychology. Studies of factors such as attention, memory, spatial cognition, inexperience, stress, inebriation, distracting/ambiguous stimuli, fatigue, and secondary tasks such as phone conversations are used to understand and investigate the experience and actions of road users.
Behavior research in traffic psychology often deals with subjects like motivation, personality and gender differences, habits, overconfidence, age and skill differences, attention, and violation of traffic rules.
A classification of behavioral factors into those that reduce driving capability and those that promote risky behavior with further division into those with short- and long-term impact helps the conceptualization of the problems and may contribute to the prioritization of behavior modification.
Traffic and transport sciences concern themselves with the study, comprehension, explanation and prediction of everything related to the mobility of people and products. It incorporates several aspects of the transportation systems along with multiple techniques. This process attempts to develop valid and reliable methods to better understand and predict the effects of human variability with its environmental interactions on safety.
The transportation system consists of road, rail, sea and air infrastructures. It includes the possibilities and limitations of its economics, laws and regulations, which sets barriers to the capabilities of an individual and mass motorist. For instance, speed can be influenced by method of travel (vehicle, airplane, train or ship), by financial capabilities for the type of vehicle (jet versus commercial, speed boat against sail boat and sedan compared to a luxury sports car), or by regulations such as speed limits in rural areas versus city driving.
The traffic environment takes into account location, time constraints, population and dangers that are exposed to motorist. These environmental factors pose danger and risk to motorists that may be fatal. Driving in wet, narrow, and dark conditions exposes drivers to far greater risk than driving on a sunny day on an open road. This is just one type of road factor for crashes that Sullman goes on to explain in further detail:
Variability of the driver’s age, personality, temperament, stress and expertise affect speed, control and decisions. Drivers generally use some degree of risk compensation to assess driving decisions and it is skewed by varying levels of intoxication. Alcohol and drug usage, alertness and fatigue, distraction and focus are a few of the main factors attributed to driver error and crashes.
In addition to behavior research, accident research is also a component in traffic psychology, looking at driving methodology, individual differences, characteristics of personality, temporary impairments, and relevant capabilities, the driver as an information processor (includes perception and reaction times), human factors on highway accidents, and the pedestrian (identifying vulnerability, causes and prevention of accidents).
Examination of the operator plays a large role in transportation psychology. While many external factors influence traffic safety, internal factors are also significant. Some factors include:
Linking brain regions, networks, and circuits with behaviors involved in operating a vehicle is one of the more salient topics of research within traffic psychology. Seven separate brain networks have been identified in driving simulations as being of importance to the neurophysiological processes involved in driving. The networks each have a unique function as outlined by Porter: The parietoccipital sulcus is involved in visual monitoring, motor cortex and cerebellar areas—for gross motor control and motor planning; orbitofrontal and cingulate — for error monitoring and inhibition, including motivation, risk assessment, and internal space; and medial frontal, parietal, and posterior cingulate for vigilance, including spatial attention, visual stream, monitoring, and external space. By linking neuropsychological processes and driving, the ability to understand errors, development, and safety is enhanced. The involvement of motor and cerebellar networks in driving was confirmed by Calhoun, Pekar, and Pearlson (2004). Research into in alcohol dosage and its related effect on neuropsychological processes found that greater quantities of alcohol created a larger likelihood to engage in high speed driving and an increase in the number of times the speed limit was exceeded.
Rehabilitation counseling is a process because of the many steps involved for an individual to become self-reliant. A driver rehabilitation specialist (DRS) is one who “plans, develops, coordinates and implements driving service for individuals with disabilities”  DSR’s may come from backgrounds such as physical therapy, psychology, and driver education.
Evaluating a driver requires many aspects. A clinical assessment includes a review of the medical history, driving history, and driving needs. Visual and perceptual assessment along range of motion, motor strength, coordination, sensation, reaction time and cognitive assessment is a crucial aspect and the focus of the medical history evaluation.
“An initial driver evaluation can last one to four hours, depending on the client’s presenting disabilities and driving needs. Following the clinical assessment, clients undergo an on-road assessment if they meet the minimum state standards for health and vision, and the client holds a valid driver’s license or permit. The on-road assessment is performed in a driver rehabilitation vehicle equipped with dual brakes, rear-view mirror and eye-check mirror for the DRS, and any necessary adaptive equipment” 
The goal in the rehabilitation process is to have the individual realize their condition and attempt to reinstate them into a driving environment in which they will pose no threat to others.
Transportation psychology has emerged rapidly since the 1980s and, from its inception, has followed an interdisciplinary approach and has shared common topics with other fields, in particular medicine (e.g. driving aptitude), engineering (e.g. ergonomics and human factors), and economics (e.g. travel demand management). Mobility, including its positive and negative repercussions, originates in people’s decisions and behavior – and these could be influenced. The main causes of traffic accidents are errors due to maladaptive behavior in interaction with roadways or other vehicles.
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), are electronic systems that aid a vehicle driver while driving. When designed with a safe human-machine interface, they are intended to increase car safety and more generally road safety.
Most road accidents occur due to human error. Advanced driver-assistance systems are systems developed to automate, adapt and enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. The automated system which is provided by ADAS to the vehicle is proven to reduce road fatalities, by minimizing the human error. Safety features are designed to avoid collisions and accidents by offering technologies that alert the driver to potential problems, or to avoid collisions by implementing safeguards and taking over control of the vehicle. Adaptive features may automate lighting, provide adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance, pedestrian crash avoidance mitigation (PCAM), incorporate satnav/traffic warnings, alert driver to other cars or dangers, lane departure warning system, automatic lane centering, show what is in blind spots, or connect to smartphones for navigation instructions.Applied psychology
Applied psychology is the use of psychological methods and findings of scientific psychology to solve practical problems of human and animal behavior and experience. Mental health, organizational psychology, business management, education, health, product design, ergonomics, and law are just a few of the areas that have been influenced by the application of psychological principles and findings. Some of the areas of applied psychology include clinical psychology, counseling psychology, evolutionary psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, legal psychology, neuropsychology, occupational health psychology, human factors, forensic psychology, engineering psychology, school psychology, sports psychology, traffic psychology, community psychology, and medical psychology. In addition, a number of specialized areas in the general field of psychology have applied branches (e.g., applied social psychology, applied cognitive psychology). However, the lines between sub-branch specializations and major applied psychology categories are often blurred. For example, a human factors psychologist might use a cognitive psychology theory. This could be described as human factor psychology or as applied cognitive psychology.Cognitive psychology
Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental processes such as "attention, language use, memory, perception, problem solving, creativity, and thinking". Much of the work derived from cognitive psychology has been integrated into various other modern disciplines such as Cognitive Science and of psychological study, including educational psychology, social psychology, personality psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, linguistics, and economics.David Shinar
David Shinar is one of the most prominent and productive researchers in the area of traffic safety, and a professor emeritus at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
David Shinar received his BA in psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1968, his MA in Experimental Psychology from Ohio State University in 1970 and his Ph.D. in Human Performance and Human Factors Engineering from Ohio State University in 1973. He was the George Shrut Professor of Human Performance Management at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, till his retirement in 2012. Between 2007- 2010 he served as the Chief Scientist of Israel's National Road Safety Authority. He is a member of the United States' National Research Council Transportation research board (TRB) Committee on Simulation and Measurement of Vehicle and Operator Performance and is a member of the TRB coordinating committee of the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2). He is an Honorary Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and a recipient of the A.R. Lauer Award for his "outstanding Contributions to Human Factors Aspects of Highway Traffic Safety". He is also the recipient of the Israeli Ergonomics Society award for his scientific contributions to ergonomics. David Shinar has served on the editorial advisory board of various journals including Accident Analysis and Prevention, Journal of Safety Research, Human Factors, Transportation Research F, Cognition Technology and Work, and International Journal of Heavy Vehicle Systems. His research has been sponsored by the U.S. Government, the European Commission, the Israeli government, public foundations, and private industry. He has given over 30 invited talks in international conferences, and has published over 150 articles and scientific reports including the book "Traffic Safety and Human Behavior". He has been teaching and doing research on driver behavior and highway safety for over 35 years, and has advised over 50 MSc and PhD students.
Throughout his long academic career, David Shinar is well known for his pioneering work applying basic behavioral research toward traffic safety. David Shinar is a professor of Ergonomics, he founded the Center for Research in Ergonomics and Safety and established the first driving research simulation laboratory in Israel in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. He has directed research on driver information processing and human factors in crash causation for over 35 years and authored over 150 reports in this area.
David's main interests are ergonomics aspects of traffic safety, in particular driver visual and perceptual skills in vision and perception. In this area he has studied headway perception and distance estimation, driver eye movements, and driver hazard detection. In addition he has studied the impact of these factors on young and old drivers, and drivers impaired by alcohol, drugs, and fatigue. More recently his research interests are geared towards vulnerable road users, especially bicyclists.
David Shinar was born on October 8, 1943, in Jerusalem, Israel. He spent a part of his teenage years in Philadelphia, PA. His father, Pessah Shinar, now a professor emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Asia and Africa institute, is a co-author of a well known Hebrew-Arabic dictionary, and his mother is a retired laboratory technician. David Shinar received his B.A. in Psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem where he was also a research assistant of the Nobel prize recipient Daniel Kahneman. In 1969 David Shinar left Israel to study Human Engineering in the USA at Ohio State University and completed his Ph.D. in 1973. He proceeded to study traffic accidents at a research institute in Indiana University. Upon his return to Israel in 1977, David Shinar joined Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he founded the Driving Behaviour Laboratory and created the Graduate program in Human Factors Engineering and later in Highway Traffic Safety. David Shinar is married to Dr. Eva Shinar, a clinical psychologist, and has two children.
1996 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, A.R. Lauer Award for "Outstanding Contributions to Human Factors Aspects of Highway Traffic Safety"
Since 2001 Incumbent of the George Shrut Chair in Human Performance Management
Since 2006 Fellow (honorary) of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
2008 Honoree of the special "Meet the Author" Session at the Transportation Research Board Annual Conference for the book "Traffic Safety and Human Behavior'".
2010 Israeli Ergonomics Society first Annual Award for “Unique Contributions towards the Advancement and Development of Human Factors in Ergonomics"
2011 Faculty of Engineering, Ben-Gurion University Award for "Unique Contributions to the Faculty of Engineering"
Shinar, D. (1978) Psychology on the road: The human factor in traffic safety. New York: John Wiley & Sons
Shinar, D. (2007) Traffic safety and human behavior. Oxford, England: ElsevierHighly cited articles
Treat, J. R., Tumbas, N. S., McDonald, S. T., Shinar, D., & Hume, R. D. (1979). TRI-LEVEL STUDY OF THE CAUSES OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (No. DOTHS034353579TAC (5) Final Rpt).
Shinar, D., & Schieber, F. (1991). Visual requirements for safety and mobility of older drivers. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 33(5), 507-519.
Shinar, D. (1998). Aggressive driving: the contribution of the drivers and the situation. Transportation Research Part F: traffic psychology and behaviour, 1(2), 137-160.
Shinar, D., & Compton, R. (2004). Aggressive driving: an observational study of driver, vehicle, and situational variables. Accident analysis & prevention, 36(3), 429-437.Distracted driving
Distracted driving refers to the act of driving while engaging in other activities which distract the driver's attention away from the road. Distractions are shown to compromise the safety of the driver, passengers, pedestrians, and people in other vehicles.Cell phone use while behind the wheel is one of the common forms of distracted driving. According to the United States Department of Transportation, "texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times higher than driving while not distracted." Studies and polls regularly find that over 30% of United States drivers had recently texted and driven. Distracted driving is particularly common among, but not exclusive to, younger drivers.Guglielmo Gulotta
Guglielmo Gulotta is a Full Professor of Juridical Psychology at the University of Turin, Faculty of Psychology, and a criminal barrister of the Milan Court.
He is a psychologist and a psychotherapist.
His scientific career has been witnessed by his work done in various areas of psychology and the law.Gulotta is the Editor of two scientific series with the Milan Publisher – [Giuffrè]: [Juridical and Criminal Psychology Series] and [Notebooks on Psychology Series].
He has published up to now, as an author and a co-author, 50 books, and more than 300 scientific papers, some of them in different languages.
Gulotta is considered one of the most prominent contemporary authorities in Juridical and Forensic Psychology in Italy.His fundamental scientific work lies in the complex and controversial task of reducing the gap between the law and psychology, and in creating a bridge between these two areas of human investigation and behaviour.The scientific influence of Guglielmo Gulotta has spread widely from [criminal law] through:
attribution theory;child abuse allegations;
ethics in psychology and in professional practice;forensic neuroscience;forensic psychology;
humour in life and in psychotherapy;interpersonal influence studies;mobbing;psychoanalysis and individual responsibility;
psychology of last will and testament;social psychology as a science of everyday life;systemic theory and family conflicts;touristic psychology;traffic psychology;victimology.Injury prevention
Injury prevention is an effort to prevent or reduce the severity of bodily injuries caused by external mechanisms, such as accidents, before they occur. Injury prevention is a component of safety and public health, and its goal is to improve the health of the population by preventing injuries and hence improving quality of life. Among laypersons, the term "accidental injury" is often used. However, "accidental" implies the causes of injuries are random in nature. Researchers use the term "unintentional injury" to refer to injuries that are nonvolitional but preventable. Within the field of public health, efforts are also made to prevent or reduce "intentional injury." Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, for example, show unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death from early childhood until middle adulthood. During these years, unintentional injuries account for more deaths than the next nine leading causes of death combined.
Injury prevention strategies cover a variety of approaches, many of which are classified as falling under the “3 E’s” of injury prevention: education, engineering modifications, and enforcement/enactment. Some organizations, such as Safe Kids Worldwide, have expanded the list to six E’s adding: evaluation, economic incentives and empowerment.Microsleep
A micro-sleep (MS) is a temporary episode of sleep or drowsiness which may last for a fraction of a second or up to 30 seconds where an individual fails to respond to some arbitrary sensory input and becomes unconscious. MSs occur when an individual loses awareness and subsequently gains awareness after a brief lapse in consciousness, or when there are sudden shifts between states of wakefulness and sleep. In behavioral terms, MSs manifest as droopy eyes, slow eyelid-closure, and head nodding. In electrical terms, microsleeps are often classified as a shift in electroencephalography (EEG) during which 4–7 Hz (theta wave) activity replaces the waking 8–13 Hz (alpha wave) background rhythm.MSs often occur as a result of sleep deprivation, though normal non-sleep deprived individuals can also experience MSs during monotonous tasks. Some experts define microsleep according to behavioral criteria (head nods, drooping eyelids, etc.), while others rely on EEG markers. Since there are many ways to detect MSs in a variety of contexts there is little agreement on how best to identify and classify microsleep episodes.
Microsleeps become extremely dangerous when they occur in situations that demand constant alertness, such as driving a motor vehicle or working with heavy machinery. People who experience microsleeps often remain unaware of them, instead believing themselves to have been awake the whole time, or to have temporarily lost focus.Operating speed
The operating speed of a road is the speed at which motor vehicles generally operate on that road.
The precise definition of "operating speed", however, is open to debate. Some sources, such as the AASHTO, have changed their definitions recently to match the common use of the word. In 1994, the AASHTO Green Book defined the operating speed as "the highest overall speed at which a driver can travel on a given highway
under favorable weather conditions and under prevailing traffic conditions without at any time exceeding the safe speed as determined by the design speed on a section-by-section basis," a definition which a majority of US states still use. In July 2001, however, the AASHTO revised their definition for the new edition of the Green Book and defined it as "the speed at which drivers are observed operating their vehicles during free-flow conditions."Outline of academic disciplines
The following outline is provided as an overview of an topical guide to academic disciplines:
An academic discipline or field of study is a branch of knowledge, taught and researched as part of higher education. A scholar's discipline is commonly defined by the university faculties and learned societies to which they belong and the academic journals in which they publish research.
Disciplines vary between well-established ones that exist in almost all universities and have well-defined rosters of journals and conferences, and nascent ones supported by only a few universities and publications. A discipline may have branches, and these are often called sub-disciplines.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to academic disciplines. In each case an entry at the highest level of the hierarchy (e.g., Humanities) is a group of broadly similar disciplines; an entry at the next highest level (e.g., Music) is a discipline having some degree of autonomy and being the basic identity felt by its scholars; and lower levels of the hierarchy are sub-disciplines not normally having any role in the structure of the university's governance.Outline of psychology
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to psychology:
Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases.Outline of transport
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to transport:
Transport or transportation – movement of people and goods from one place to another.Pickup truck
A pickup truck is a light-duty truck having an enclosed cab and an open cargo area with low sides and tailgate. Once a work tool with few creature comforts, in the 1950s consumers began purchasing pickups for lifestyle reasons, and by the 1990s, less than 15% of owners reported use in work as the pickup truck's primary purpose. Today in North America, the pickup is mostly used as a passenger car and accounts for about 18% of total vehicles sold in the United States.Full-sized pickups and SUVs are an important source of revenue for GM, Ford, and FCA's Ram, accounting for more than two-thirds of their global pretax earnings, though the vehicles make up just 16% of North American vehicle production. The vehicles have a high profit margin and a high price, with 40% of Ford F-150s selling for US$40,000 or more.The term pickup is of unknown origin. It was used by Studebaker in 1913 and by the 1930s, "pick-up" (hyphenated) had become the standard term. In Australia and New Zealand, "ute", short for utility vehicle, is used for both pickups and coupé utilities. In South Africa, people of all language groups use the term bakkie, a diminutive of bak, Afrikaans for bowl/container, due to the cargo area's similarities with a bowl.Stop sign
A stop sign is a traffic sign designed to notify drivers that they must come to a complete stop and make sure no other vehicles are coming and no pedestrians are crossing before proceeding.Time-saving bias
The time-saving bias describes people's tendency to misestimate the time that could be saved (or lost) when increasing (or decreasing) speed. In general, people underestimate the time that could be saved when increasing from a relatively low speed (e.g., 25 mph or 40 km/h) and overestimate the time that could be saved when increasing from a relatively high speed (e.g., 55 mph or 90 km/h). People also underestimate the time that could be lost when decreasing from a low speed and overestimate the time that could be lost when decreasing from a high speed.Traffic
Traffic on roads consists of road users including pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars, buses and other conveyances, either singly or together, while using the public way for purposes of travel. Traffic laws are the laws which govern traffic and regulate vehicles, while rules of the road are both the laws and the informal rules that may have developed over time to facilitate the orderly and timely flow of traffic.
Organized traffic generally has well-established priorities, lanes, right-of-way, and traffic control at intersections.
Traffic is formally organized in many jurisdictions, with marked lanes, junctions, intersections, interchanges, traffic signals, or signs. Traffic is often classified by type: heavy motor vehicle (e.g., car, truck), other vehicle (e.g., moped, bicycle), and pedestrian. Different classes may share speed limits and easement, or may be segregated. Some jurisdictions may have very detailed and complex rules of the road while others rely more on drivers' common sense and willingness to cooperate.
Organization typically produces a better combination of travel safety and efficiency. Events which disrupt the flow and may cause traffic to degenerate into a disorganized mess include road construction, collisions, and debris in the roadway. On particularly busy freeways, a minor disruption may persist in a phenomenon known as traffic waves. A complete breakdown of organization may result in traffic congestion and gridlock. Simulations of organized traffic frequently involve queuing theory, stochastic processes and equations of mathematical physics applied to traffic flow.Vienna Test System
The Vienna Test System (VTS) is a test system for computerized psychological assessments. With it digital psychological tests can be administrated and it provides automatic and comprehensive scoring First and foremost, this saves both time and money in comparison to administrating and scoring paper-and-pencil tests manually. The system includes not only classical questionnaires but also tests that can only be administered precisely by using a computer (time-sensitive test presentation, multi-media presentation, adaptive tests, Psychomotricity, combinations of tests for specific purposes (test sets), differentiated scoring of individual responses, e.g. according to reaction time, etc.).