HPL Older Driver Research

The Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory has conducted research investigating issues related to aging and driving.  Age-related declines in vision, physical abilities, psychomotor coordination, and cognition combine to make it less likely that older drivers will look for potential threats during a turn.  The lab is especially interested in pursuing research on improving older driver performance through the development of customized feedback and remediation for older drivers.  Our research has found that older drivers scan the road much less in intersections compared to younger, experienced drivers.  Findings suggest that active training should be an effective means of improving older drivers’ performance and self-awareness.

older driver

Developments in research methodologies for older drivers include evaluation of elderly both in the field starting at their homes as well as in the laboratory.  The Human Performance Lab has developed advanced research field kits that allow researchers to turn a driver’s car into a rolling laboratory complete data from video, audio, GPS, eye-tracking, on-board diagnostics (OBD-2) logging, 3-axis accelerometer, as well as other specialized peripheral equipment.  Data from the HPL field kits have been used in training studies to provide older drivers immediate feedback on their driving performance without the need for lengthy post-processing and a follow-up appointment.  Such feedback has proven to be highly effective in making older drivers open to changing their behavior and remediation training.


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Romoser, M.R.E. & Fisher, D.L. (2009). The effect of active versus passive training strategies on improving older drivers’ scanning in intersections. Human Factors, 51(5), 652-668.

Romoser, M. R. E. & Fisher, D. L. (2009).  Effects of cognitive and physical decline on older drivers’ side-to-side scanning for hazards while executing turns.  Driving Assessment 2009: 5th International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design, Big Sky, MT., 61-68.

Romoser, M., Fisher, D., Mourant, R., Wachtel, J., & Sizov, K. (2005). The use of a driving simulator to assess senior driver performance: Increasing situational awareness through post-drive one-on-one advisement.  3rd International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design, June 2005, Rockport, ME, 456-463.

Romoser, M., Fisher, D. L., Mourant, R. Wachtel, J., Sizov, K., Kennedy, S. I., & Andra, M. (2005). Use of a driving simulator to assess older adults’ critical driving skills. Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting CD-ROM, TRB, National Research Council, Washington, D.C.

Wachtel, J., Romoser, M., Fisher, D. L, Sizov, K. A., & Mourant, R. R. (2005). The potential to enhance older drivers’ critical driving skills through simulator-based advice. In L. Dorn (Ed.), Driver Behaviour and Training: Vol. II (pp. 105-120), London: Ashgate.


Helping Older Drivers on the Road
WWLP Evening News, Dec. 1, 2010.  Springfield, MA

Study at UMass shows training simulators could help elderly drivers avoid crashes
Sprinfield Republican, Tuesday, August 25, 2009