TASK A - A Brief Description of how the System Works at a Similar Level of Detail to the CRASH Handout
The system works through coordination of telematics and information technology to relay vehicle-to-infrastructure and infrastructure-to-vehicle information. The system deploys the use of wireless communication between a car and variable message sign points to relay information and alerts to drivers on potential dangers ahead. The messages provide warnings to drivers about advisable speed limits on specific segments of a highway after an incident. The system relies on information transmitted by traffic data collectors such as induction loops. It also relies on information integrated from various sources, such as CCTV cameras, ramp meters, and incident reporting teams that convey any relevant data to traffic management centres. System operations are coordinated by various teams with well spelt out duties and responsibilities. Communication and wireless technology team provides planning and design logistics including site and project management for all technical and technological platforms required for the system (Thomas 2010). Field operations team coordinates effective work of transport management centres and the incidence response program.
TASK B - The Most Likely Potential Problems in Terms of Functional System Safety (‘‘What ifs’’) for the Chosen System
The design of both hardware and software applications for the system must be above board. It must address pertinent issues of reliability, rate, and propensity of experiencing malfunctions and going into sleep or inactive mode (Green 2001). Any slight failure of the system can have massive repercussions in terms of inconveniences to drivers, accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. This can pose serious legal challenges to the company as it may be accused of negligence.
Another potential problem will be posed by the nature of human-machine interactions. The design of available menus, keys, and the entire navigation system is crucial (Keller 2003). How user friendly will the interface be? Also the effectiveness of the dialogue that will exist between the user and the system is vital for success. Will it be audio, visual, or both? If it will be audio, is the language understandable to most of road users or only to a select few? What about the nature of feedback? Does it promote road safety or is a source of distraction and confusion to the driver? Inappropriate designs can lead to lower or greater levels of involvement and interaction between the driver and the system, and each has its own impacts.
Another potential problem of the system is cooperation with drivers. Drivers must update their electronic driving licenses so that they can conform to the system. This facilitates their ability to receive alerts to be able to take appropriate timely measures. Where errant drivers are involved, the system should have the capacity of alerting the authorities before any eventualities happen.
The vehicles must also have proper in-vehicle navigation systems that ensure the prompt receipt of alerts. Such systems should add value to human interactions with the system. They should also have internal risk mitigation gadgets so that any driver who is unfit to drive does not enter the roads (Elvis 1999). Such gadgets prohibit consumption of substances such as alcohol when driving. This is because a driver who is intoxicated cannot respond adequately to any alert. He can pose great danger to other road users.
The system should also have the capacity to alter interaction between road users, road infrastructure, and the driver (David 2000). Young drivers tend to ignore system warnings on variable speed and are mainly susceptible to crashes. In order to minimize risks on the road, the system should have the capacity to monitor vulnerable road users on a continuous basis.
TASK C - Significant Human Machine Interaction (HMI) Issues and Problems Associated with the System. Propose Solutions to Them
The system will be dependent on the actions of various people for it to succeed. Qualifications of various technical teams will be essential in ensuring success of the system. The teams must be familiar with the installed systems and must have the capacity to make quick decisions. This allows prompt interventions, which reduce any inconveniences. The teams will have the capacity to execute their planning and scheduling roles promptly. Any problems that will be experienced initially need to be dealt with expeditiously and on time. The design of human interface will be decisive on how seamlessly the system fits into its roles with road users (Taylor 1998). It would be prudent to consult road users where systems will be in operation. They will have an opportunity to provide their insights about the best usability characteristics that should be included in the interface.
The team must invest in frequent training so that they can continuously familiarize themselves with changes in technology. This enables them to carry out relevant system updates and repairs in order to maximize the value for users.
The system should also have an elaborate error detection capability. This plays a vital role in raising red flag in case there is any system breakdown due to interference from other quarters or due to intrusion into the system by hackers. Such a system will also respond adequately to any breakdown of operations caused by serious environmental disasters (Christie 2009) such as tornadoes. It gives various teams adequate notices to take necessary action. The main solution would be to equip most hardware with sensory equipment and also interlink the system with weather forecasting stations so that all notifications are received on time.
TASK D - Hypotheses
The hypotheses will be developed according to the FOT six areas.
Area 1 - Direct Effects of System on the User and Driving
Hypothesis 1- The use of the cooperative system has reduced the number of disturbances on the road.
This hypothesis can be confirmed by conducting personal interviews with individual drivers who use the roads fitted with this system (Groag 2003). Drivers can also be given questionnaires where they can indicate their answers and then drop off completed questionnaires at designated points.
Hypothesis 2 - Implementation of the cooperative system has added significant value to the quality of driving experiences on the roads.
This hypothesis can be confirmed by comparing the volume of traffic on the roads where the system is in place before and after installation of the system. This is in recognition of the fact that most drivers avoid using problematic roads in preference of well organized and regulated ones.
Area 2 - Indirect Effects of the System on the User
Hypothesis 1- The implementation of the system has reduced the number of road accidents and obstructions on the roads.
This hypothesis can be tested through the use of available data on road accidents and obstructions recorded before and after installation of the system. It will also be crucial to analyze whether the number of vehicles involved in accidents had been fitted with the system.
Area 3 - Indirect Effects of the System on the Non-user
Hypothesis 1- The use of the system by drivers has reduced complaints from their families on lateness while leaving their places of work.
This hypothesis can be confirmed by conducting phone interviews with families of working drivers who use the system on almost daily basis (Francis 2008). The details of contacts can be obtained from subscription details of drivers and also from licensing authorities.
Hypothesis 2- There have been reduced complaints from pedestrians about careless driving of motorists, especially on roads where the system has been installed.
This hypothesis can be confirmed by analyzing reported incidents by pedestrians on roads where the system is installed involving drivers who use the system.
Area 4 - Modification of Interaction between Users and Non-users
This area does not apply since the system has not integrated non-users. Due to absence of any form of interaction, there is no hypothesis that can be tested.
Area 5 - Modifying Accident Consequences
This area also does not apply to this case. This is because the system is not linked to rescue providers. The system just makes warnings to oncoming traffic about any traffic risks ahead.
Area 6 - Effects of Combination with other Systems
Hypothesis 1- There is a noticeable improvement in alert on roads after the system was combined with similar ones in the industry.
This hypothesis can be confirmed through the use of comparative data after the system has been combined with others (Seaman 2009). The comparison will be between data collected before the combination and the data collected after the combination. It can also be confirmed by conducting interviews with drivers and other road users.
Hypothesis 2 - There is no noticeable change in road alerts after combining the system with others. This hypothesis can be confirmed through data analysis and by conducting road user interviews. It can also be advisable to assess the effectiveness of other systems before combining since they may have usability problems that can compromise results.