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Impact of speed change on estimated journey time: Failure of drivers to appreciate relevance of initial speed.

Fuller, R; Gormley, M; Stradling, S; Broughton, P; Kinnear, N; O'Dolan, C; Hannigan, B


R Fuller

M Gormley

S Stradling

P Broughton

N Kinnear

C O'Dolan

B Hannigan


Higher speeds are associated with increases in the probability of crashing and the severity of the outcome. Logically drivers speed to save time, and research evidence supports this assertion. It is therefore important to investigate drivers’ understanding of how speed change impacts on journey time. Since it is likely that drivers do not appreciate the reciprocal nature of the function which links these two variables, and its implications, two predictions can be made: the impact of a speed change will be underestimated at low speeds and overestimated at high speeds. This issue was addressed through four questions generated by manipulating Speed Change (increase versus decrease) and Starting Speed (30 mph versus 60 mph) with the participants being asked how they felt these variables would impact on journey time. These were included in a large survey addressing speed-related issues. Participants were a representative quota sample of 1005 UK drivers, interviewed by questionnaire. The findings indicated that three of the four questions produced results consistent with the predictions made. Furthermore, a repeated measures factorial ANOVA indicated that there was no real appreciation of how starting speed impacted on journey time. A disordinal interaction provided evidence that drivers wrongly believed that as starting speed increased the impact of a speed rise also increased; the opposite is true. For speed decreases, drivers appeared to think that starting speed had little impact on the amount of time saved. It is recommended that these findings be integrated into driver training and speed awareness courses.


Fuller, R., Gormley, M., Stradling, S., Broughton, P., Kinnear, N., O'Dolan, C., & Hannigan, B. (2009). Impact of speed change on estimated journey time: Failure of drivers to appreciate relevance of initial speed. Accident analysis and prevention, 41, 10-14.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2009
Deposit Date Apr 10, 2014
Print ISSN 0001-4575
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 41
Pages 10-14
Keywords Driving speed; Journey time; Time estimation; Reasons for speeding;
Public URL
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