Exploring schema-driven differences in situation awareness between road users: an on-road study of driver, cyclist and motorcyclist situation awareness


Collisions between different road users make a substantial contribution to road trauma. Although evidence suggests that different road users interpret the same road situations differently, it is not clear how road users’ situation awareness differs, nor is it clear which differences might lead to conflicts. This article presents the findings from an on-road study conducted to examine driver, motorcyclist and cyclist situation awareness in different road environments. The findings suggest that, in addition to minor differences in the structure of different road users’ situation awareness (i.e. amount of information and how it is integrated), the actual content of situation awareness in terms of road user schemata, the resulting interaction with the world and the information underpinning situation awareness is markedly different. Further examination indicates that the differences are likely to be compatible along arterial roads, shopping strips and at roundabouts, but that they may create conflicts between different road users at intersections. Interventions designed to support compatible situation awareness and behaviour between different road users are discussed.