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Developing Better Curb Management Strategies through Understanding Commercial Vehicle Driver Parking Behavior in a Simulated Environment

Start Date: January 2021
Funding: PacTrans (Region 10 University Transportation Center)
Project Budget: $180,000

Project Budget: $180,000 (UW amount: $80,000)

Lead Institution:

  • University of Washington, Urban Freight Lab (UFL)

Partner Institutions:

  • Oregon State University


This study will use a driving simulator to design a simulation experiment to test the behavior of commercial vehicle drivers under various parking and delivery situations and to analyze their reactions. The ability to modify the simulator’s environment will allow the researchers to relatively easily test a range of scenarios that correspond to different delivery and parking situations.

The simulation experience will be designed in a quarter-cab truck simulator at Oregon State University’s Driving and Bicycling Simulator Laboratory. Various simulation environments will be defined by changing road characteristics (such as land use, number of travel lanes, nearby signals, traffic in adjacent lanes), curb allocations (such as paid parking, commercial vehicle loading zones, and passenger load zones, as well as the size of the loading zones and their availability at the time of the vehicle arrival at the blockface), and other road users (passenger cars, ridehailing vehicles, bikes). Drivers from various categories of age, gender, experience level (less experiences vs. seasoned) and goods type (documents, packages, or heavy goods) will be invited to operate the simulator and make a parking decision in a few simulated environments. The simulator can also monitor distraction (through eye tracking) and the stress level of drivers (through galvanic skin response) when making these decisions and interacting with other road users.

Analyzing parking decisions and driver stress levels based on roadway and driver characteristics will provide insights on travel behaviors and the parking decision-making process of commercial vehicle drivers, and will help city planners improve street designs and curb management policies to accommodate safe and efficient operations in a shared urban roadway environment.

The unique needs of delivery trucks and commercial vehicles are not acknowledged in current design practices. This study is intended to fill these gaps and serve as a valuable resource for policy makers, transportation engineers and urban planners.