Landscape heritage objects' effect on driving: a combined driving simulator and questionnaire study

Hans Antonson, Christer Ahlström, Mats Wiklund, Göran Blomqvist, Selina Mårdh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


According to the literature, landscape (panoramas, heritage objects e.g. landmarks) affects people in various ways. Data are primarily developed by asking people (interviews, photo sessions, focus groups) about their preferences, but to a lesser degree by measuring how the body reacts to such objects. Personal experience while driving a car through a landscape is even more rare. In this paper we study how different types of objects in the landscape affect drivers during their drive. A high-fidelity moving-base driving simulator was used to measure choice of speed and lateral position in combination with stress (heart rate measure) and eye tracking. The data were supplemented with questionnaires. Eighteen test drivers (8 men and 10 women) with a mean age of 37 were recruited. The test drivers were exposed to different new and old types of landscape objects such as 19th century church, wind turbine, 17th century milestone and bus stop, placed at different distances from the road driven. The findings are in some respect contradictory, but it was concluded that that 33% of the test drivers felt stressed during the drive. All test drivers said that they had felt calm at times during the drive but the reason for this was only to a minor degree connected with old and modern objects. The open landscape was experienced as conducive to acceleration. Most objects were, to a small degree, experienced (subjective data) as having a speed-reducing effect, much in line with the simulator data (objective data). Objects close to the road affected the drivers’ choice of’ lateral position. No significant differences could be observed concerning the test drivers’ gaze between old or modern objects, but a significant difference was observed between the test drivers’ gaze between road stretches with faraway objects and stretches without objects. No meaningful, significant differences were found for the drivers’ stress levels as measured by heart rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Human Geography


  • Visual perception
  • Emotional bond
  • Place
  • Questionnaires
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Eye tracking


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