Haptic nudges to influence cyclist behaviour – an experimental study
Paper i proceeding, 2019
Bicycle riders are over represented in fatal traffic accidents in Europe, and the trend is still on the rise (European Commission, 2018). While most cycling accidents are defined as single accidents, the outcome of an accident where a car or other heavy vehicle is involved is naturally much more severe. A Swedish study found that eight of ten car-bicycle accidents happen in intersection scenarios (Isaksson-Hellman & Werneke, 2017). If cyclists, as well as car drivers, adapt their speed before intersections everyone has more time to spot each other and to take evasive action, which should lead to a decrease in accidents.
Authorities around the world are putting up physical obstructions such as rumble stripes to make cyclists slow down, but is this the right way to go? Previous studies have found smooth surfaces to be a very important factor for cycling comfort, and vibrations to be highly disliked (Ayachi et al., 2015; Bíl et al., 2015; Stinson and Bhat, 2005; Torbic et al., 2003).
The core of the MeBeSafe project is to investigate whether nudging, i.e. non-forcing measurements without demands on conscious interpretation, can be used to influence traffic behaviour and suggest how these nudges should be designed. In the project, both visual and haptic nudges have been developed and tested. This paper reports on an experimental study with 16 participants, 19-75 years of age, that was carried out with six different haptic nudges. The nudges consisted of modified surface softness and roughness as well as dimensional modifications. Results indicate that most haptic nudges have very little effect on speed and those with larger effect are generally disliked. This suggests that building physical obstructions for cyclists may not be the correct way forward, although results from cycling workshops performed in the project suggests that haptic nudges might be a good choice if one wants to nudge cyclist to change trajectory. If one wants to affect bicyclists’ speed, visual nudges are likely to be a more constructive route for cities to take.
traffic safety measures