Impact of road environment on drivers’ behaviors in dilemma zone: Application of agent-based simulation

Sojung Kim, Young Jun Son, Yi Chang Chiu, Mary Anne B. Jeffers, C. Y.David Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


At a signalized intersection, there exists an area where drivers become indecisive as to either stop their car or proceed through when the traffic signal turns yellow. This point, called a dilemma zone, has remained a safety concern for drivers due to the great possibility of a rear-end or right-angle crash occurring. In order to reduce the risk of car crashes at the dilemma zone, Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) recommended a dilemma zone model. The model, however, fails to provide precise calculations on the decision of drivers because it disregards the supplemental roadway information, such as whether a red light camera is present. Hence, the goal of this study was to incorporate such roadway environmental factors into a more realistic driver decision-making model for the dilemma zone. A driving simulator was used to determine the influence of roadway conditions on decision-making of real drivers. Following data collection, each driver's decision outcomes were implemented in an Agent-Based Simulation (ABS) so as to analyze behaviors under realistic road environments. The experimental results revealed that the proposed dilemma zone model was able to accurately predict the decisions of drivers. Specifically, the model confirmed the findings from the driving simulator study that the changes in the roadway environment reduced the number of red light violations at an intersection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-340
Number of pages12
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Agent-based simulation (ABS)
  • Dilemma zone behavior
  • Driver decision
  • Intersection safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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