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Human Centered Design for Information Societies Technologies



Human Centered Design for Information Societies Technologies

Background & policy context: 

Road telematics and driver assistance systems can constitute a real opportunity to support mobility and to improve road safety. Nevertheless, it is necessary to conceive them according to users' needs and requirements, in order to ensure their acceptability and to detect potential harmful effects of their widespread use.

Human factors and cognitive engineering competencies exist in Europe, but are scattered. To address this fragmentation of research capacities, HUMANIST gathered the most relevant European research institutes involved in Road Safety and Transport for contribution towards the eSafety initiative and the improvement of road safety, by promoting human-centred design.

This integration allowed us to increase societal benefits of ITS implementation, to harmonise ITS approaches amongst the State Members, to react quickly to any new technological developments and to face international challenges by producing state-of-the-art research, identifying knowledge gaps and avoiding redundancy of research activities.

The goal of HUMANIST was to create a European Virtual Centre of Excellence on HUMAN-centred design for Information Society Technologies applied to Road Transport, with a coherent joint programme of activities gathering research, integrating and spreading activities.

Integrating Activities would permit us to manage and to consolidate the NoE structure by promoting the mobility of researchers, by optimising the pool of existing experimental infrastructures and by setting up electronic tools (common database, web-conference, e-learning) for knowledge sharing.

Spreading Activities would allow us to widely spread the knowledge from HUMANIST, by organising debates on eSafety and relevant stakeholders, by promoting harmonisation with standardisation and pre-normative bodies, by setting up training programmes and by promoting and disseminating research results to a wider audience.


The development of the new technologies for information and communication for practices in transport are going to transform greatly in the coming years. The driving task has evolved little since the creation of the motor vehicle and this situation is changing today, under the combined effect of widespread driver information and communication systems being implemented in-vehicle and the emergence of advanced driver assistance systems.

Through these various systems, a certain number of functions are proposed to the driver with the objective to facilitate one's driving task and to improve the safety of one's travel. For example, the access to navigation information allows a lowering of the attention level involved in the orientation process of the driving situation. The diffusion of traffic information in real-time will result in critical situations avoidance. The alert messages concerning road or meteorological events arising down the road and diffused as quickly as possible to the driver, will allow the activation of the anticipation process. The adaptive cruise control, while maintaining a safe headway with the car ahead, decreases the drivers' stress and mental load. Lastly, in direct connection with the road safety objectives, the active assistance systems conceived specifically to take effect in accidental situations, will balance reaction latencies and decision uncertainties, inherent to the human functioning in driving situations.

However, even though current developments in the field of road telematics and driver assistance systems can constitute a real opportunity of help for the mobility and a real improvement of the road safety, they nevertheless raise numerous questions for ergonomists regarding their acceptability by drivers and the possible modifications of behaviour or attitudes. The effective realisation of the expected benefits will depend on the conditions of systems implementation: in particular, in which measure the system responds to drivers needs, is compatible with their functional capacities and satisfies the criteria of relevance, usability and acceptability.

Lastly, the emergence of automation technologies - assistance systems being able to take care of some of the control tasks traditionally assigned to the driver - creates the problem of the task dispatch between human and machine, as well as the choice of logic used for the management of this control sharing substitute or co-operative. Further research is needed regarding the emergent human driving tasks of sys


The HUMANIST NoE aimed at defining a common research framework amongst a set of scientific expertise in the area of Human-Centred Design for ITS. Complementary research activities are run by several European Institutes in this area. At the then present moment, exchanges and co-operation between these identified partners were limited to either binary programmes or to common partial activities in the framework of European projects.

The creation of the HUMANIST NoE would allow the formalisation of the already existing partial collaborations, however, will go beyond this state, by promoting the joint setting up of research programmes in order to organise and to optimise the activities amongst the European teams involved in working on this topic.

The research areas covered by the HUMANIST NoE have dealt with identification of the driver's needs in relation to ITS, Evaluation of ITS Potential Benefits, Joint-Cognitive models of Driver-Vehicle-Environment for User-Centred Design, Impact analysis of ITS on driving behaviour, Development of Innovative Methodologies to evaluate ITS Safety and Usability, Driver Education and Training for ITS use and the use of ITS to Train and to Educate Drivers.

This set of research areas are complementary and allow wide coverage of the knowledge required to investigate all the various aspects of Human-Centred Design.

A set of Integrating Activities was created, in order to manage and to consolidate the NoE research structure:

  • By promoting the mobility of researchers inside the network;
  • By optimising the pool of existing experimental infrastructures through sharing;
  • By setting up an electronic internal network in order to easily and quickly share the knowledge inside the network (forum, web-conference, common database) and in order to set up e-learning initiatives.

A set of Spreading Activities has been created in order to widely spread the knowledge from the NoE to the relevant stakeholders:

  • By organising debates and transfer of knowledge through identified activities with other FP6 projects on eSafety and relevant stakeholders and by promoting harmonisation with other networks as standardisation and pre-normative bodies;
  • By setting up training programmes for European students and young researchers in the area in addition to professionals of industries, governmental bodies and other organisations in the automotive domain;
  • By promoting and disseminating concepts, activiti
Institution Type:
Institution Name: 
European Commission
Type of funding:
Key Results: 

From the scientific outcomes of HUMANIST, it is possible to highlight valuable outputs such as:

  • An edited book on 'Modelling driver behaviour in automotive environments: Critical issues in driver interactions with intelligent transport systems';
  • A matrix of methods for the assessment of ADAS and IVIS;
  • A MultiMedia Tool for the training of drivers on ITS use;
  • A software for the analysis of traces of activity for cognitive modeling of the car driver (ABSTRACT).

Policy implications

Contribution to the construction of the ERA

One of the main outputs of HUMANIST was the development of new knowledge on HUMAN-centred design for ITS applied to Road Transport, with PhD and post-doctoral works with infrastructure sharing projects.

HUMANIST also encouraged the spread of scientific knowledge by boosting the number of joint scientific papers amongst partners and by favouring the edition of books. Important steps for dissemination were the setting up of a European conference on 'Human-Centred Design for Intelligent Transport Systems' and the edition of a special issue of the IET Intelligent Transport Systems journal published in March 2009.

HUMANIST also contributed highly to the building up of the new generation of European researchers, notably, by setting up the basis for a European Master on Human Factors and New Technologies for Transport. The final contribution of HUMANIST to the ERA was the setting up of a European Virtual Centre.

Experiment of new research governance

Throughout its four years of activity HUMANIST allowed the recognition of new research governance of the transnational network. New modalities of research governance were experienced, such as the structuring of the supply side of the research of ERA and the creation of conditions to boost innovation. Today the HUMANIST experience is a useful model for the creation of other NoE and also for the research organisations interested in rethinking their research governance and their interactions with stakeholders.

Scientific « Lobby » at the European level

After four years of implementation, the HUMANIST NoE is now a well known European stakeholder. Above all, the scientific roadmap of the NoE has been disseminated to the ITS community. Through a consensual process amongst HUMANIST partners, twelve research priorities have been identified in the area of Human-Centred Design for ICT in transport.

This Roadmap was very valuable and provided inputs to ITS Stakeholder Working Groups, to the ERTRAC research recommendations and to the DG INFSO consultation on the development of the FP7 Work programme on ICT for mobility.

Contribution to the eSafety initiative

As members of the RTD Working group, two HUMANIST members took part to the 'Stakeholders’ Contribution to the Development of FP7 Work programme on ICT for Mobility' and its 2007 update. This document is recognised as the basis of the ICT workplan in the eSafety an


European Commission-Joint Research Centre EC-JRC

Factum OHg

Belgisch Instituut voor de Verkeersveiligheid

Czech Republic
Centrum Dopravniho Vyzkumu

Danish Transport Research Institute

Technical Research Centre of Finland-VTT

Europe Recheche Transport-ERT; Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Sécurité-INRETS (now IFSTTAR); Eurisco International;

Bundesanstalt für Strassenwesen Fedeal Highway Research Institute Bast; Technische Universität Chemnitz-CUT; Institute For Occupational Physiology At The University of Dortmunt

Centre for Research and Technology Hellas; Institute of Communication and Computer Systems ICCS; National Technical University of Athens NTUA

Institute of Transport Economics-TOI

Faculdade de Motricidade Hamana UTL/FMH

Universidad Politecnica de Madrid-UPM

Statens VAG- och Transportforskningsinstitutet-VTI

The Netherlands
SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research; Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, TNO

United Kingdom

Contact Name: 
Ms Corinne Brusque
Case 24 - 25 av. Mitterrand
Contact country:
+33 4 721 423 45
Fax Number: 
+33 4 723 768 38
Link to CORDIS information: