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  • Technical Report Documentation Page 1. Report No.

    TX-01/4945-1 2. Government Accession No.

    3. Recipient's Catalog No.

    5. Report Date

    November 2000 4. Title and Subtitle

    UNDERSTANDING ROAD RAGE: SUMMARY OF FIRST-YEAR PROJECT ACTIVITIES 6. Performing Organization Code

    7. Author(s)

    Carol H. Walters, Valmon J. Pezoldt, Katie N. Womack, Scott A. Cooner, and Beverly T. Kuhn

    8. Performing Organization Report No.

    Report 4945-1

    10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

    9. Performing Organization Name and Address

    Texas Transportation Institute The Texas A&M University System College Station, Texas 77843-3135

    11. Contract or Grant No.

    Project No. 7-4945 13. Type of Report and Period Covered

    Research: September 1999 - August 2000

    12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

    Texas Department of Transportation Construction Division Research and Technology Transfer Section P. O. Box 5080 Austin, Texas 78763-5080

    14. Sponsoring Agency Code

    15. Supplementary Notes

    Research performed in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation. Research Project Title: Understanding Road Rage 16. Abstract Popular opinion has it that road rage is increasingly prevalent and dangerous in the urban driving environment. Whether or not this opinion is true, driver frustration in congested conditions may lead to an increase in aggressive driving, a less intentionally malignant and more common subset of road rage. The potential for significant safety benefits might be realized if transportation professionals had a better understanding of some roadway factors and characteristics of the congested driving environment that induce irritation and perhaps contribute to the frequency of aggressive driving. This report documents the major first-year activities: literature review, focus groups, telephone survey, and development of potential traffic engineering mitigation measures. Researchers studied five focus groups consisting of six to ten individuals and a telephone survey of over 400 Dallas motorists to identify and quantify the pertinent factors increasing driver impatience, irritation, and stress in the congested driving environment. Based upon the survey responses, the research team developed reasonable and feasible traffic engineering mitigation measures (i.e., those factors related to the roadway itselfgeometrics, signs and markings, incident clearance activities, etc.) for further evaluation. The following three items were selected for further evaluation: 1. Innovative merge strategiestest concepts such as the late merge and zipping at urban work zones, 2. Bottleneck improvementsevaluate the benefits of adding capacity at freeway bottlenecks for reducing aggressive driving, and 3. Photogrammetric investigation of incidentsassess the ability of photogrammetry to expedite incident clearance. The second year of the project will test these measures, both in a laboratory setting (driving simulator in College Station) and in the real world (field studies on highway facilities in the Dallas area). 17. Key Words

    Road Rage, Aggressive, Stress, Irritants, Mitigation, Merging, Driver Behavior

    18. Distribution Statement

    No restrictions. This document is available to the public through NTIS: National Technical Information Service 5285 Port Royal Road Springfield, Virginia 22161

    19. Security Classif.(of this report)

    Unclassified 20. Security Classif.(of this page)

    Unclassified 21. No. of Pages

    116 22. Price

    Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

  • UNDERSTANDING ROAD RAGE:

    SUMMARY OF FIRST-YEAR PROJECT ACTIVITIES

    by

    Carol H. Walters, P.E. Senior Research Engineer

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Valmon J. Pezoldt Research Scientist

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Katie N. Womack Research Scientist

    Texas Transportation Institute

    Scott A. Cooner, P.E. Assistant Research Engineer

    Texas Transportation Institute

    and

    Beverly T. Kuhn, Ph.D., P.E. Associate Research Engineer Texas Transportation Institute

    Report 4945-1 Project Number 7-4945

    Research Project Title: Understanding Road Rage

    Sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation

    November 2000

    TEXAS TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE The Texas A&M University System College Station, Texas 77843-3135

  • v

    DISCLAIMER The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Texas Department of Transportation. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation, and is not intended for construction, bidding, or permit purposes. The engineer in charge of this project was Ms. Carol H. Walters, P.E. # 51154 (Texas).

  • vi

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The research reported herein was performed by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) as part of a project titled Understanding Road Rage sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Ms. Carol H. Walters, P.E., # 51154 (Texas) of TTI served as the research supervisor, and Ms. Terry Sams, P.E., of the TxDOT Dallas District served as the project director. The authors wish to acknowledge individuals that served on an advisory panel for their assistance and guidance throughout the first year of this research project. The advisory panel was composed of the following members in addition to the project director: Mr. David Bartz, P.E., Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Texas Division,

    Austin; Mr. Mike West, TxDOT, Traffic Safety, Dallas District Office; Ms. Meg Moore, P.E., TxDOT, Traffic Engineering Section, Traffic Operations Division,

    Austin; and Dr. Khali Persad, TxDOT, Research Program, Construction Division, Austin. The research team also appreciates the support and participation of the City of Dallas, Texas Instruments, Pantego Bible Church, and the Dallas Morning News in providing subjects for the focus groups. The research team extends a special thanks to Mr. Gerry Barker of the Dallas Morning News for the use of the newspapers website to recruit subjects for two of the focus groups.

  • vii

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Page List of Figures ................................................................................................................................ ix List of Tables................................................................................................................................... x List of Abbreviations...................................................................................................................... xi 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................... 1

    1.1 Background and Significance of Research.............................................................. 1 1.2 Research Objectives ................................................................................................ 1 1.3 Work Plan................................................................................................................ 1 1.4 Report Organization ................................................................................................ 2

    2 FIRST-YEAR LITERATURE REVIEW SUMMARY............................................................ 5

    2.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 5 2.1.1 Definitions................................................................................................... 6

    2.2 Driver Stress and Aggression.................................................................................. 9 2.3 Reducing Driver Stress and Aggressive Driving .................................................. 17

    2.3.1 Social, Behavioral, and Educational Approaches ..................................... 18 2.3.2 Traffic Engineering and Roadway Design Approaches............................ 19 2.3.3 Enforcement and Legislative Approaches................................................. 22

    2.4 Focus Group and Survey Research ....................................................................... 22 2.5 Study of Aggressive Driving Behavior on Freeways............................................ 29

    3 FOCUS GROUP RESULTS ................................................................................................... 31

    3.1 Focus Groups on Driving in Stressful Environments ........................................... 31 3.2 Group and Participant Characteristics................................................................... 31 3.3 Summary of Focus Group Discussions ................................................................. 32

    3.3.1 Discussion of Driver Behavior Irritants .................................................... 35 3.3.2 Discussion of Roadway-Related Irritants.................................................. 36 3.3.3 Discussion of Construction-Related Irritants ............................................ 37 3.3.4 Discussion of Enforcement/Emergency Response Irritants ...................... 37 3.3.5 Discussion of HOV Lane and Tollway Irritants........................................ 37 3.3.6 Discussion of Merging-Related Irritants ................................................... 37 3.3.7 Participant Driving Behaviors................................................................... 38 3.3.8 Participant Ideas for Reducing Stress and Aggressive Driving ................ 39

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