Increased sense of safety and driving comfort
VTT Technical Research Centre has led a team of scientists in a European
collaborative project to assess the impacts of driver support functions
provided by smartphones, navigators and other in-vehicle aftermarket and
nomadic devices on the driving task and driver behaviour.
The extensive research material reveals that intelligent transport systems
allowed drivers to find quicker and less congested routes, and prevented them
from speeding accidentally. Fuel costs also dropped, as did driving-related
stress and anxiety. The drivers’ sense of safety and driving comfort
increased. The study was based on extensive field trials, with almost 3,000
drivers covering a combined distance of more than 10 million kilometres in
eight European countries.
With a budget of EUR 15 million, the four-year TeleFOT project, coordinated by
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is one of the biggest traffic ICT
projects in Europe. TeleFOT receives EC contribution. The recently completed
operational field trials produced a unique set of data, based on a
comprehensive assessment of driver behaviour and the efficiency, quality,
robustness and user-friendliness of interactive in-vehicle traffic systems and
Many intelligent transport services provided by nomadic devices are already
part of the daily lives of road users, but information about their actual
impacts on road safety, for example, has not previously been available.
Test drivers were recruited for the project from Finland, Sweden, Germany, the
UK, France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Of the just under 3,000 drivers, a total
of 360 were Finnish. A large number of the Finnish drivers were from around
Oulu, but there were also drivers from Tampere, the capital region and other
parts of Finland.
Better flow of traffic and more economical driving styles
The project studied the impacts of driver support functions provided by
in-vehicle aftermarket devices on safety, efficiency, mobility, the
environment, and driver behaviour in road traffic. The services tested
included Static and Dynamic Navigation Support, Green Driving Support, Speed
Limit Information and Traffic Information.
Of the tested devices, navigators and traffic information systems, in
particular, increased efficiency by allowing drivers to find quicker and less
congested routes. Green driving systems guided drivers to routes that lowered
their emissions and towards driving more economically.
At the Finnish test site, the use of a green driving system in bus transport
helped to lower fuel consumption and to reduce speeding, which also improves
road safety. Another significant finding is that the systems reduced
driving-related stress and anxiety across the board and, in all the
participating countries, increased the drivers’ sense of safety and driving
comfort. From the perspective of mobility, the results were positive for all
The users’ expectations for the services were high at first. After using the
services for some time, they were slightly disappointed not to have seen a
direct benefit. The longer they used the services, the more clearly they could
see the benefits and advantages, and the more satisfied they were.