Date of Award


Degree Type



Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Jenkins, Jacqueline Marie

Subject Headings

civil engineering transportation skill retention driving simulation


Whether driving a car in the real world or a simulator vehicle in a computer generated world, the procedural aspects of driving are very similar. The steering wheel is used to control the direction of the vehicle while the accelerator and brake pedals are used to control the speed. This similarity means that people who already possess the skill of driving in the real world are expected to transfer those existing skills to drive a simulator vehicle. Recognizing the need for skill transference, the typical protocol for conducting driving simulation experiments includes a practice drive, which affords participants the opportunity to learn to drive the simulator vehicle. Previous research has shown that some participants quickly learn to interact and exhibit consistently good performance while other participants first exhibit poor performance and require time driving, or repeated trials of a particular task, to improve their performance. One of the risks of driving a simulated vehicle is experiencing symptoms of simulator sickness. The occurrence and severity of these symptoms are believed to increase with continued exposure. Therefore, it would be valuable if the practice drive could be completed on a different day than that of the experimental drive(s). Such an approach would allow sufficient practice without requiring participants to remain in the simulator for a prolonged period of time. The possibility of having the practice occur on a separate day from the experiment was explored in this research. A repeated measures experiment was designed to test whether the driving performance during two separate drives would differ more when the drives were separated by a longer interval of time. The simulator scenario was the same for both drives. The scenario required participants to drive a one-way, three lane freeway segment and make 75 lane changes. Half the participants drove on two consecutive days, and half the participants drove on two days, one week apart. Forty-two participants were recruited from the