The Drive: Approaching a work zone? Your phone could tell you
StarTribune, August 27, 2017
Static and digital roadside signs conveying minimal information often are the only notice to warn motorists approaching a construction zone to slow down and be cautious. Drivers get so used to seeing the signs that they don’t pay attention to them and behave as if all work zones are the same, said Chen-Fu Liao, a senior systems engineer at the University of Minnesota’s Traffic Observatory. What if there were a better way to alert drivers and get their attention? This summer Liao and a research team are developing and testing the Work Zone Alert app, which would deliver messages directly to drivers in their vehicles through their smartphones or vehicle’s infotainment system.... The U’s Human First Lab found those who relied on audio from their phone had less mental workload.
A Minnesota driver's dilemma: To honk, or not to honk?
StarTribune, August 24, 2017
While “toot-toots” and “hooooonks” are part of the sound fabric of cities such as New York and Chicago, Minnesota drivers rarely sound off with their horns — even in the face of the most egregious, selfish driving maneuvers. When you’re Minnesota Nice, honking comes with internal conflict. “Honking feels hostile in Minnesota,” said researcher Nichole Morris, who studies driver behavior at the Human First Lab at the University of Minnesota. “In other places, it’s totally acceptable to honk and nobody gets too bent out of shape about it.
X Games bring global spotlight, big show, traffic to U.S. Bank Stadium
StarTribune, July 11, 2017
The X Games are the first in a series of mega-events for U.S. Bank Stadium that include the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, 2018, followed by the Final Four in 2019. This year, both ABC and ESPN will broadcast more than 18 hours from the X Games.... Minneapolis drivers will need to show some agility of their own during the games with a number of street closings near the stadium Thursday through Sunday.... Researcher Nichole Morris, who studies driver behavior at the Human First Lab at the University of Minnesota, said drivers should use wayfinding apps and consider going to a “happy place” by using a safe driving distraction such as an audiobook.
New U of M app warns drivers of cone zones
KARE-11 TV News, May 25, 2017
The University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies has developed an app that will pair directly with technology in construction zones. Researcher Chen-Fu Liao calls it "a Bluetooth beacon." Workers can send messages to drivers as they approach construction zones. The idea is not to look down at the app or the phone but to have it speak to drivers. ... The U of M's Human First Lab tested the app for driver distractions. Researcher Nichole Morris tracked and analyzed the eye movements and responses of 100 different drivers as they navigated several simulated construction zones.
Tips for driving in winter weather
KARE-11 TV News, November 22, 2016
The first snowfall of the season means adjusting our driving behavior to deal with cold, snow, and ice. HumanFIRST Lab principal researcher Nichole Morris provides tips and insight into safely driving in winter weather.
2016’s Best and Worst States for Teen Drivers: Ask the Experts
WalletHub, June 21, 2016
Getting a driver’s license is considered a rite of passage in American culture. But this exciting coming-of-age has instead become a death sentence for thousands of teens each year. Motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 16 and 19, which also happens to be the age group with the highest risk of crashes. Nichole Morris, principal researcher in the HumanFIRST Laboratory at the Roadway Safety Institute, and research scholar with the Center for Transportation Studies at University of Minnesota, offers expert insights.
Teens and cars: some advice for staying safe
Orillia Packet and Times, May 23, 2016
Nichole Morris, a researcher at the HumanFirst Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, has startling statistics that should keep parents awake. Morris says the most hazardous years of life for children are between 16 and 17 — not because of suicide, cancer or other accidents; the cause is driving. Morris acknowledges cars and roads have become safer. The trouble is young drivers make fatal mistakes that should never happen.
Klobuchar visit highlights U of M distracted driving research
CTS Conversations, May 05, 2016
CTS and the Roadway Safety Institute today hosted U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar with Minnesota high school students, safety leaders, researchers, and advocates to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. Following remarks, the group toured the University's HumanFIRST Lab, which uses the tools and methods of psychology and human factors engineering to better understand driver performance. High school students from two of the distraction-free driving clubs launched by the Dixit Foundation took turns behind the wheel of the lab's state-of-the art immersive driving simulator, which is used for researching driver distraction and impairment.
Warning to parents: You need to be involved in your teens' driving
NBC Today Show, March 21, 2016
While many experts says that too much involvement in your teenager's life can be counterproductive, statistics show that advice doesn't apply to driving. NBC's Tom Costello reports for TODAY from a driver's ed program in Potomac, Maryland. University of Minnesota researcher Nichole Morris was interviewed for the story.
Teenage Drivers? Be Very Afraid
New York Times, March 19, 2016
Among the people who know what they are talking about, the unanimous message to parents is: You’re not worried nearly enough. Get much more involved. Your child’s life may be in danger. What’s the topic? Teenage driving. “If you’re going to have an early, untimely death,” said Nichole Morris, a principal researcher at the HumanFIRST Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, “the most dangerous two years of your life are between 16 and 17, and the reason for that is driving.”
Only Human, but on Wheels
ASME, April 2015
The HumanFIRST laboratory at the University of Minnesota is working on ways to prevent automobile accidents caused by cars swerving out of their lanes. This sort of accident, which often occurs on rural roads, accounts for one third of all crashes and as many as 55 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Driving too fast? Your cell phone will text your mom
MPR News, February 6, 2015
Parents of teenage drivers could soon have a new way to make sure their children stay safe behind the wheel. A cell phone app, developed at the University of Minnesota, monitors teens' driving habits in real time, and it alerts their parents when they break the rules of the road.
App developed at U alerts teens, parents to risky driving
Star Tribune, February 6, 2015
The Teen Driver Support System smartphone app was developed after nearly 10 years of work. The U is now exploring whether the app can be commercialized.
U Of M researchers using smartphones to keep teen drivers safe
WCCO 4 News, February 5, 2015
Crashes are the leading cause of deaths for teenagers. That's why researchers at the University of Minnesota are using smart phones to keep teens safe behind the wheel, Kylie Bears reports
Device texts parents when teens drive poorly
FOX 9 News, February 5, 2015
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have been working for 10 years to develop what's called the Teen Driver Support System (TDSS), a smartphone-based application that provides "real-time, in-vehicle feedback to teens about their risky behaviors—and reports those behaviors to parents via text message if teens don't heed the system's warnings."
U of M Creates Smartphone App to Critique Young Drivers
KSTP 5 News, February 5, 2015
Young drivers can thank the University of Minnesota's new smartphone app called Teen Driver Support System for the chat you'll have with your parents when you get home.
Can an app make teens better drivers?
National Conference of State Legislatures, September 5, 2014
Attendees at NCSL's Street Smart: Innovations in Traffic Safety Pre-Conference in Minneapolis heard from Janet Creaser with U of M's Roadway Safety Institute about her study of the Teen Driver Support System. The system is an application that was installed on teen drivers' phones to increase teen driver safety.
Higher ed at the Fair: From Tommie Totes to the U's Gridlock Buster
MinnPost, August 29, 2012
On the other end of the scale, the University of Minnesota occupies eight different fairground locations, from which it hosts a seemingly endless series of events designed to engage an even broader audience. "If you're interested in transportation, we will have our Center for Transportation Studies experts on hand, [with] a game called Distraction Dodger or Gridlock Buster to better familiarize Minnesotans with the effects of playing with your cell phone in your car or trying to text," according to Jason Rohloff, special assistant to the president for government and community relations.
Distracted-driving video game aims to teach teens
WCCO 4 TV News, August 28, 2012
The State Fair is the perfect place to talk about distracted driving. Whether you're in a golf cart or a car, all of your focus has to be on the road, which is often filled with people. Now the University of Minnesota hopes a new video game will hit the point home to young drivers. To see how the game works, watch the video.
HumanFIRST Program partnership develops Safe Teen Car System
Researchers from the HumanFIRST Program at the University of Minnesota's ITS Institute and the private research company Westat have developed a prototype system for new cars. It's called the Safe Teen Car System, and it actually gives teens feedback to help them develop safer driving habits. Sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the project is an extension of a national focus on teen driving safety.
Distraction Dodger premieres at Teen Safe Driving Summit
Distraction Dodger, an online game developed by the ITS Institute, premiered at the 4th Annual Teen Safe Driving Summit on Thursday, February 2, at the Rosemount Community Center. The game, designed to help teens and young adults understand the importance of concentrating on driving, has already received attention with an award at the 2011 International Serious Play Conference.
- Read the University of Minnesota press release
- Watch the KSTP-TV News report
- Watch a related story on FOX 9 News
- Read a related story at Minnesota Public Radio
- Read a related story at the Star Tribune
- Watch This Week @Minnesota segment about the game
- Play Distraction Dodger
Good Question: Are cell phones the most distracting?
WCCO-TV, December 13, 2011
The National Transportation Safety Board wants every state to ban all cell phones used by drivers—no texting, no talking, not even hands-free. But are cell phones more distracting than any of the other distractions inside our cars? According to ITS Institute Director Max Donath, crash statistics indicate that there is a problem. "The issue really is there are so many more people using their smartphones, there's so many people who think they can get away with texting," he said. "More drivers are exposing themselves to this particular distracting behavior, which is why we're seeing so many problems."
Using tech to curb deaths on Minnesota's roadways
Minnesota Public Radio, August 10, 2010
ITS Institute Director Max Donath and HumanFIRST Director Mike Manser discuss a range of technologies that save lives on the road, from digital maps and devices that keep drivers from drifting out of their lane to phones that alert parents if a young driver is violating Minnesota's graduated driver's license rules by being out too late or having too many passengers in the car. Seat belts are a crucial safety technology, as well.
U turns to technology to aid teen drivers and their parents
Star Tribune, May 1, 2010
U of M researchers are hoping intervention technology will make teenagers better drivers. The Teen Driver Support System goes well beyond seat belts and cell phones.
Drivers and their toys: Unsafe at any speed?
Star Tribune, September 30, 2009
Federal officials, transportation experts, and academics are convening in Washington, D.C., for a first-ever summit on how to combat distracted driving.... "This is not a new topic," said Michael Manser, who's attending the Washington summit in his role as director of the HumanFIRST program at the U's Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute.
Newest Source of Teen Ire: Webcams in Their Cars
Washington Post, October 24, 2008
Maryland study involving webcams for teen drivers yields similar results to a prior Minneapolis study.
Motorcycles and alcohol: Research examines a dangerous combination
CTS Research E-News, September 2008
This summer, with gas prices at an all-time high and warm weather beckoning riders to hit the road, motorcycles and scooters are more popular than ever.
Sleepy driver takes a test drive
KMSP-TV Fox 9 News, May 21, 2008
Using the University of Minnesota HumanFIRST virtual driving simulator, researchers can monitor how a sleepy driver isn't able to drive safely.
Study: Rural Minnesota Drivers Take More Risks Than Urban Drivers
Fox 9 News, December 18, 2007
Rural drivers -- especially pickup drivers -- have more relaxed attitudes toward safety on the road, according to a new University of Minnesota study.
U of M testimony before MN Senate Transportation Committee
Minnesota Senate, Finance Transportation Budget and Policy Division Committee Hearing, January 30, 2007
Minnesota Medicine article on reducing fatal crashes features ITS Institute experts, technology
Minnesota Medicine, May 2006
Teen driving research featured on Fox 9 News
KMSP Fox 9 News, February 27, 2006
Inside ITS article highlights Minnesota's Toward Zero Deaths program
Inside ITS, 2005
'U' research on driving hits new gear
Star Tribune, September 10, 2005