Promoting Inclusive Design and Deployment of Connected and Automated Vehicles for Older Adults Through Education and Training of Engineering Students and Older Drivers

Promoting Inclusive Design and Deployment of Connected and Automated Vehicles for Older Adults Through Education and Training of Engineering Students and Older Drivers

Lisa Molnar Headshot. The link directs to her bio page on the CCAT website.
Lisa Molnar
Headshot of Feng Zhou. The link directs to their bio page on the CCAT website.
Feng Zhou
Headshot of David Eby. The link directs to their bio page on the CCAT website.
David W. Eby
Carol Flannagan Headshot. The link directs to their bio page on the CCAT website.
Carol Flannagan
Headshot of Ping Yi. The link directs to their bio page on the CCAT website.
Ping Yi
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute Logo. The link directs to the UMTRI research page on the CCAT website.
The University of Akron Logo - link directs to Akron Research Page
UM-Dearborn Logo. The link directs to the U-M Dearborn research page on the CCAT website

Principal Investigator(s):

Lisa Molnar, Associate Research Scientist and Associate Director – The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
Associate Director – Center for Advancing Transportation Leadership and Safety (ATLAS Center)
Feng Zhou, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering – University of Michigan-Dearborn
David W. Eby, Research Professor, Associate Director of Faculty Affairs, and Head of Behavioral Sciences Group – The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
Adjunct Professor of Psychology – University of Michigan
Carol Flannagan, Research Associate Professor – The Univerity of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
Director – Center for the Management of Information for Safe and Sustainable Transportation (CMISST)
Ping Yi, Professor of Civil Engineering – The University of Akron

Project Abstract:
The development of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), poised to be one of the most transformative transportation advances in recent history, holds promise for reducing traffic crashes and maintaining mobility among older adults. At the current time, however, challenges remain in ensuring that CAVs are accessible, acceptable, affordable, and otherwise inclusive for older adults. There is a tremendous opportunity to build sensitivity among students studying engineering and other automotive-related fields to the issues of older adults and CAVs, as an explicit part of their education. There is also an opportunity to train older adults themselves to improve their knowledge about CAVs, potentially leading to greater acceptance of these technologies. This proposed project has two objectives. The first is to increase students’ awareness of and sensitivity to issues of older adult accessibility, acceptability, affordability, and other aspects of inclusion related to CAVs, using a framework of experiential learning (implemented in a student classroom project). This objective directly addresses two of the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation’s designated topics of interest in the areas of connected and automotive transportation – equity and education. The second objective is to increase older drivers’ awareness and understanding of CAV technologies so that they are better prepared to take advantage of the safety features of these technologies. This objective will be met by providing training about CAV technologies directly to older drivers. The student classroom component (Objective 1) will allow students to be involved in all four aspects of experiential learning – exploring, engaging, reflecting, and communicating – as part of six primary aims intended to meet the project objective: 1) help students explore issues of older adult accessibility, acceptability, affordability, and other aspects of inclusion related to CAVs through participation in a workshop put on by University of Michigan faculty and others; 2) provide an opportunity for students to directly engage with these issues through a class project implemented in the College of Engineering graduate course CEE 554, taught by Dr. Neda Masoud, an Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering, and a Co-PI on this proposal; 3) encourage students to reflect on what they have learned from the class project, including how their potentially new thinking about older adults and CAVs fits within the university’s experiential learning core competencies; 4) provide an opportunity for students to communicate what they have learned through a poster session held at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, with the posters displayed in the Patricia F. Waller Gallery; 5) evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed project through the administration of pre- and post-surveys to students intended to assess changes in students’ knowledge and perceptions around the issues of accessibility, acceptability, affordability, and inclusivity of CAVs for older adults; and 6) develop recommendations for future efforts to train and educate students in this area. The full project (Objectives 1 and 2) will result in several important outputs that can be used by other transportation professionals and educators to increase knowledge and awareness of older adult issues that may impact the design and deployment of CAVs. These outputs include: techniques and recommendations that integrate experiential learning with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion awareness and knowledge that can be used in an educational setting for engineering and other students; student posters highlighting lessons learned about older adult needs, preferences, and perceptions relative to CAVs that came out of the classroom project; training materials for older drivers to increase knowledge about CAVs; survey instruments to evaluate the effectiveness of the classroom project and the older driver training; and future presentations at conferences and symposia to disseminate results of the project and other relevant information.

Institution(s): University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, The University of Akron, University of Michigan-Dearborn

Award Year: 2022

Research Thrust(s): Control & Operations, Enabling Technology, Human Factors

Project Form(s):
Project Information Form