Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Staff photo

Professor Natasha Merat


Research Group Leader for Human Factors and Safety

Phone: +44 (0)113 34 36614
Room: 2.08
Research Group: Human Factors and Safety

Key Research Interests

  • Human factors of highly automated driving
  • HMI design
  • Driver behaviour, especially driver distraction and the influence of new technologies in driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Older drivers and technology
  • Train driver distraction and workload
  • Psychophysiological measures of driver behaviour
  • Multisensory integration, especially crossmodal links between audition, vision and touch.

Visiting Positions and Professional Engagements

  • Advisory board member: AutoLiv Inc.
  • Steering Group member Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles, DfT
  • Adjunct Professor, Public Policy Centre, University of Iowa
  • Visiting Fellow, Mobile Robotics Group, University of Oxford
  • Director: Transport Systems Hub, University of Leeds, 2011-2015
  • WG member: EC iMobility group on Highly Automated Driving, 2012-present
  • Guest Editor, Special section of Transportation Research Part F., on Vehicle automation and driver behaviour
  • Guest Editor: Special issue of Human Factors on Automation in Vehicles, 2012
  • Elected Director of the Executive Council, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter, 2011 to date
  • Member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter (2005 to date)
  • Working Party Member of Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (2003 to date)
  • Member of the British Psychological Society (2000 to date)
  • Treasurer, Cognitive Section, British Psychological Society (2000-2004)

Employment History

  • 2013-2016, Associate Professor
  • 2004-2013, Senior Research Fellow, ITS, University of Leeds
  • 2002-2004, Research Fellow, ITS, University of Leeds
  • 1999-2002, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey
  • 1998-1999, Research Fellow, Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Unilever Research


  • 1999 - PhD, Psychology, University of Leeds
  • 1993 - BSc (Hons), Physiology, University of Leeds

Research Projects and Experience

  • PedSim (EPSRC ITS CoI, 2017-2020)
  • L3Pilot (EC, ITS PI, 2017-2021)
  • HumanDrive (IUK, ITS PI, 2017-2020)
  • TRANSITION (EPSRC, ITS CoI, 2017-2020)
  • interACT (EC, ITS PI, 2017-2020)
  • CARTRE (EC, ITS CoI, 2016-2018)
  • VRA: Vehicle Road Automation (EC, ITS PI - 2013-2017)
  • AdaptIVe (EC, ITS PI, 2014-2017)
  • FORWARN: towards an intelligent forward collision warning system (PI, 2012-2016, EPSRC)
  • CityMobil2 (EC, ITS PI, 2012-2016)
  • Transport Research Knowledge Centre (EC, PI, 2009-2010)
  • Low-cost innovative engineering measures to reduce fatigue-related accidents (PI, 2007-2009, Highways Agency)
  • CityMobil (EC, PM, 2006-2011)
  • EASY: Effects of Automated Systems on Safety (EPSRC, CoI, 2006-2009)
  • AIDE: Adaptive Integrated Driver-Vehicle Interface (EC, PM, 2004-2008)
  • HASTE: HMI And the Safety of Traffic in Europe (EC, PM, 2002-2005)

For a list of my publications see also Google scholar:


Past teaching includes lectures on Theories of Attention to 3rd year undergraduate students in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

I also supervise ITS Masters student dissertations on a variety of topics involving driver behaviour.  Examples of past topics inlcude:

  • Acceptability of Intelligent Speed Adaptation for Young Drivers
  • Is the driving test related to real world driving?
  • Does personality influence engagement in mobile phone tasks?
  • Using video recordings to analyse conflicts bewteen drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

Past and Present PhD Students

  • George Kountoriotis (Graduated 2012), co supervised with Richard Wilkie from the School of Psychology, Thesis title: "Gaze direction and visual information when steering". 
  • Nick Herbert (Graduated 2016) co supervised by Nick Thyer from the School of Healthcare in Leeds. Title of Thesis: Hearing Impairment and Driving Performance
  • Tyron Louw (Graduated 2017). Thesis Title: Human Factors of Transitions in Highly Automated Driving, as part of the AdaptIVe projectPanagiotis Spyridakos, co supervised by Gustav Markkula, Human Machine Interface (HMI) evaluation in driving - effect of HMI tasks on safety and performance of the driver.
  • Anderson Etika is sponsored by the Nigerian Government and is studying speed choice in Nigerian fleet drivers
  • Yvonne Taylor co supervised by Samantha Jamson from ITS. Yvonne is a full-time police officer and a part-time student who will be studying fatigue and work related accidents.



  • de Waard D; Merat N; Jamson H; Barnard Y; Carsten O (2011) Human Factors of Systems and Technology, Shaker.

Book Chapters

  • Merat N; Jamson AH; Lai FH; Carsten O (2014) Human Factors of Highly Automated Driving: Results from the EASY and CityMobil Projects, Road Vehicle Automation, Lecture Notes in Mobility, Springer International Publishing, pp.113-125. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-05990-7_11
  • Merat N; Jamson AH; Lai FCH; Carsten OMJ (2010) Automated driving, secondary task performance and situation awareness, In: de Waard D; Axelsson A; Berglund M; Peters B; Weikert C (Ed) Human Factors: A system view of human, technology and organisation, Shaker Publishing B.V., pp.41-53.
  • Merat N; Mills A; Bradshaw M; Everatt J; Groeger J (2002) Allocation of attention among train drivers, In: McCabe PT (Ed) Contemporary Ergonomics 2002, Contemporary Ergonomics, CRC Press, pp.185-190.
  • Groeger JA; Bradshaw MF; Everatt J; Merat N (2001) Allocation of visual attention among train drivers, Vision in Vehicles, Amsterdam : North-Holland.

Conference Papers

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