Using the cab of a white Ford Ranger XLT with split bucket seats as a driving simulator, a team of Missouri S&T researchers is evaluating road sign configurations to see if alternatives could make drivers — and workers — safer in work zones on Missouri roadways.
Three projectors mounted on the truck’s roof project a simulated straight stretch of Interstate 70 on a concave screen. Drivers control the steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal to go through four merge configurations, two each for left and right.
One researcher records drivers’ simulation performance, measuring speed, steering and braking. Another researcher records a driver’s body language, facial expressions and anything said. Participants are then asked to take a survey to assess their attitudes about the work zones.
Suzanna Long, Hist’84, Phys’84, MS EMgt’04, PhD EMgt’07, interim chair and associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is the principal investigator. Co-primary investigators include Ming Leu, the Missouri Distinguished Professor of Integrated Product Manufacturing; Dincer Konur, an assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering, and Ruwen Qin, an associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering.