Official US Government Icon

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.

Secure Site Icon

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

The latest general information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available on For USDOT specific COVID-19 resources, please visit our page.

Enhancing Driver Focus - The Challenge of Optimizing the Driver-Vehicle Interface in an Increasingly Complex and Automation-Rich Operating Environment

Date: 05/21/2014, 1:00pm to 2:00pm
OST-R Office: Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS)


Innovations in display technology, sensing systems and computational capabilities are rapidly impacting the driver-vehicle interface. New vehicle interfaces often present the driver with complex menu systems supporting a variety of visual-manual and auditory-vocal interactions. Cleary, the optimization of information can play a key role in reducing driver demand and enhancing driver focus. “Voice command” interfaces have been proposed as a means to allow drivers to engage with entertainment and connectivity systems while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel. Touch screens are increasing in prominence while traditional “knobs” and “buttons” are becoming less common, perhaps requiring drivers to focus additional attention to even the most basic interactions that were once just a “mindless button press”. Automation and advanced driver assistance systems are increasingly altering the basic attentional demands of vehicle control.

This talk will show how even simple changes in interface design can have an impact on attentional demand and how the intertwining of aspects of demand such as vision and cognition makes the optimization of driver attention an increasingly complex area of research. The need for new methods that consider interactions holistically and in the broader operating context (environment, automation, etc.) is highlighted as is the overall goal of more fully understanding the link between driver attention and safety as the complexity of the driver-vehicle interface continues to grow.

Sponsored by: The Office of Research and Technology (OST-R), University Transportation Centers Program

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, findings and conclusions reflected in this presentation are the responsibility of the authors only and do not represent the official policy or position of the USDOT/OST-R, or any State or other entity.”

For more information, contact Denise E. Dunn at

Last updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017