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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

First Advisor

John D. Hill


The present study was conducted to determine the effects of different variables on the perception of vehicle speeds in a driving simulator. The motivations of the study include validation of the Michigan Technological University Human Factors and Systems Lab driving simulator, obtaining a better understanding of what influences speed perception in a virtual environment, and how to improve speed perception in future simulations involving driver performance measures. Using a fixed base driving simulator, two experiments were conducted, the first to evaluate the effects of subject gender, roadway orientation, field of view, barriers along the roadway, opposing traffic speed, and subject speed judgment strategies on speed estimation, and the second to evaluate all of these variables as well as feedback training through use of the speedometer during a practice run. A mixed procedure model (mixed model ANOVA) in SAS® 9.2 was used to determine the significance of these variables in relation to subject speed estimates, as there were both between and within subject variables analyzed. It was found that subject gender, roadway orientation, feedback training, and the type of judgment strategy all significantly affect speed perception. By using curved roadways, feedback training, and speed judgment strategies including road lines, speed limit experience, and feedback training, speed perception in a driving simulator was found to be significantly improved.