Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Human Factors and Safety

Group leaders: Prof Natasha Merat and Dr Ruth Madigan (deputy)

What brings us together?

Investigating road users’ interactions with new and current transport systems and technologies in a bid to advance transport safety


  • Software development (driving simulator and related equipment)
  • Design of Human-in-the-loop-simulation experiments
  • Design of methodologies for studying user behaviour (Field Operational Tests, Naturalistic Driving Studies, Questionnaires, focus groups, laboratory studies)

Priority research topics

  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (Including Intelligent Speed Assistance)
  • Driver attitudes and behaviours
  • Eco driving
  • Electric vehicles
  • Engineering and Road/Sign Design
  • Human Factors of Highly Automated Driving
  • ‘Humans in the loop’ simulation
  • Intelligent Speed Adaptation
  • Large scale Field Operational Tests
  • Naturalistic Driving Studies
  • Use of Machine learning and Bayesian Statistics to understand road user behaviour
  • Virtual prototyping/testing
  • VRUs and Automation
  • Young older and impaired drivers
  • Vulnerable Road Users


  • University of Leeds Driving Simulator
  • Truck Simulator (by end of the year)
  • Pedestrian Simulator (by mid-2017)
  • Tools for Psychophysiological measures of performance (eye tracking, head tracking, heart rate, skin conductance etc.)
  • Virtuocity – in development, university wide simulation centre



Masters modules

  • Transport Data Collection and Analysis
  • Traffic Management
  • Safety of Road Transport
  • Transport and Public Health

Some examples of PhD Topics (past and recent)

  • Speed management strategies in Nigerian drivers
  • Mental models of ecoDriving
  • Emotion and driving
  • Fatigue in police officers
  • Measuring fatigue in automation
  • Simulator motion cueing algorithms
  • Transitions in automation
  • Driving and hearing impairment
  • Driver modelling for simulation
  • Virtual prototyping
  • Fitness to drive
  • Driver workload management

Read more on PhD topics

Other Student Members

Based in other departments but co-supervised by ITS: Andrew Dixon, Pablo Puente Guillen, Kate Palmer, Richard Riley


For further information about the work of the Safety and Technology research group, please contact Professor Natasha Merat

Safety group members