Research Topic

Psychophysiological Contributions to Traffic Safety

About this Research Topic

Safe navigation of a car, train, airplane or ship sets high demands on cognitive performance, and the same goes for the task of air/rail/vessel traffic control. Across different traffic modalities, there are many comparable challenges, as demonstrated in traffic simulators and analysis of actual traffic. For example, many traffic accidents can be attributed to consequences of fatigue, drowsiness, too high workload and lapses of attention. Different traffic modalities also involve unique challenges, such as a disturbed circadian rhythm in aviation, heterogeneity of navigation skills in public road traffic, and extreme motion in maritime traffic leading to disorientation. Current developments in partial automation of vehicles shift the relevance to staying alert and maintaining situational awareness. Monitoring the mental state of the driver is complicated by the fact that real-time indicators are scarce, whereas safety requirements prohibit sampling of mental reserve indicators and the use of intrusive sensors. Psychophysiological sensors have the potential to serve as real-time indicators of the driver’s mental state, but they also introduce methodological challenges. The recent surge of small and wearable sensors, combined with the increasing computational power opens promising avenues for innovative use of psychophysiology in traffic safety research. Psychophysiology, in this context, can refer to measures of brain activity (electro-encephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERP), near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), autonomic nervous system activity (heart rate, heart rate variability, skin conductance) and behavior related recordings (eye tracking, electromyography (EMG)); but also subtle behavioral indicators as derived from navigation analysis. The setting for applying psychophysiology would ideally be a naturalistic situation where the mental state is monitored during actual navigation or traffic control, despite the drawbacks of motion, limited space and uncontrolled circumstances. In view of these limitations, other relevant domains are the controlled environment of simulated navigation and navigation training.

For the current Research Topic we invite original contributions in one or more of the following categories:
- Methodological papers discussing the usefulness of specific psychophysiological techniques for traffic research
- Methodological papers discussing how complex data sets (including psychophysiological data) can be used to reliably predict risk in traffic participation
- Empirical papers illustrating how psychophysiological techniques have added value in investigating and monitoring traffic-related performance
- Empirical or theoretical papers discussing physiological processes that pertain to safe traffic participation (e.g. effects of alcohol)
- Comprehensive review papers on subdomains of the topic psychophysiology in traffic safety research
The editors are willing to consider other types of contributions that pertain to the topic.

In all cases, submission of full papers for this Research Topic is only possible after acceptance of the abstract. Furthermore, acceptance of the abstract does not imply acceptance of the full paper for publication.


Keywords: Attention, Traffic Performance, Human Factors, Automation, Training


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Safe navigation of a car, train, airplane or ship sets high demands on cognitive performance, and the same goes for the task of air/rail/vessel traffic control. Across different traffic modalities, there are many comparable challenges, as demonstrated in traffic simulators and analysis of actual traffic. For example, many traffic accidents can be attributed to consequences of fatigue, drowsiness, too high workload and lapses of attention. Different traffic modalities also involve unique challenges, such as a disturbed circadian rhythm in aviation, heterogeneity of navigation skills in public road traffic, and extreme motion in maritime traffic leading to disorientation. Current developments in partial automation of vehicles shift the relevance to staying alert and maintaining situational awareness. Monitoring the mental state of the driver is complicated by the fact that real-time indicators are scarce, whereas safety requirements prohibit sampling of mental reserve indicators and the use of intrusive sensors. Psychophysiological sensors have the potential to serve as real-time indicators of the driver’s mental state, but they also introduce methodological challenges. The recent surge of small and wearable sensors, combined with the increasing computational power opens promising avenues for innovative use of psychophysiology in traffic safety research. Psychophysiology, in this context, can refer to measures of brain activity (electro-encephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERP), near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), autonomic nervous system activity (heart rate, heart rate variability, skin conductance) and behavior related recordings (eye tracking, electromyography (EMG)); but also subtle behavioral indicators as derived from navigation analysis. The setting for applying psychophysiology would ideally be a naturalistic situation where the mental state is monitored during actual navigation or traffic control, despite the drawbacks of motion, limited space and uncontrolled circumstances. In view of these limitations, other relevant domains are the controlled environment of simulated navigation and navigation training.

For the current Research Topic we invite original contributions in one or more of the following categories:
- Methodological papers discussing the usefulness of specific psychophysiological techniques for traffic research
- Methodological papers discussing how complex data sets (including psychophysiological data) can be used to reliably predict risk in traffic participation
- Empirical papers illustrating how psychophysiological techniques have added value in investigating and monitoring traffic-related performance
- Empirical or theoretical papers discussing physiological processes that pertain to safe traffic participation (e.g. effects of alcohol)
- Comprehensive review papers on subdomains of the topic psychophysiology in traffic safety research
The editors are willing to consider other types of contributions that pertain to the topic.

In all cases, submission of full papers for this Research Topic is only possible after acceptance of the abstract. Furthermore, acceptance of the abstract does not imply acceptance of the full paper for publication.


Keywords: Attention, Traffic Performance, Human Factors, Automation, Training


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2018 Abstract
01 May 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 January 2018 Abstract
01 May 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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