Our research activities cover all traffic aspects from the driver, solving the driving task in a specific vehicle moving in the environment and thus interacting with other road users. These elements of the traffic system are interconnected and depending on each other, comparable to a crossword puzzle where everything is linked together:

traffic crossword puzzle

So we understand the traffic system as a whole and as the interaction and characteristics between road, vehicle and road user in order to identify where and to which extent there is potential for improvement and intervention.

By participating in various international and national projects, funded by the European Commission, by the European Department for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) or by national funding schemes, Dr. Michael Gatscha could gain valuable experience. In the following some examples of projects he has made substantial contributions:

Distration study: Impact of common distractions on driving behaviour and physiological parameters

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of common distractive activities carried on driving. Driving behaviour was measured by means of objective driving data, physiological effects were collected via via mobile ECG and EEG. Questionnaire data was used to assess subjective distraction. The study consortium consisted of the Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club - ÖAMTC, the Austrian Institue of Technnology AIT, the Institute for Sleep - Wake - Research and Neurotraffic as scientific manager.

Evaluation of different illumination scenarios on unregulated pedestrian crossings in dark conditions

In 2013, the Austrian Road Safety Fund (VSF) decided to fund a pilot study in order to evaluate the safety impact of new illumination elements for unregulated pedestrian crossings, such as permanent and dimmable LED lighting, retro-reflective marking material, lane lights and additional signal lights. A two-phase design was set up to assess the impact of different illumination scenarios.


The RAINVISION project investigates the influence of road markings on driver behaviour in light of an ageing population. Therefore, the application of an in-vehicle video and data capturing device was used in order to study driver behaviour on a test track under different driving conditions.

Evaluation of the Two-phase license education system in Austria

The Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology decided to let evaluate the Austrian two-phase license education model in terms of accidents, attitudes and acceptance among young drivers. In order to estimate effects on traffic safety, the evaluation design was based on four levels: statistical data from all novice drivers on general acceptance, a process evaluation for course participants, a wide scale survey and finally a beforeand- after comparison, carried out with time series analysis models.

Project: drivEkustik

The drivEkustik project analysed driving behaviour in electric vehicles (EVs) and the acoustic perception of these vehicles by other road users. The impacts of lower noise emissions by EVs were systematically investigated from various perspectives. Interactions between electric vehicles and vulnerable road users (VRUs) were observed by a real-life experiment.


The PROLOGUE project sought to assess Naturalistic Driving observations by means of five independent field trials in order to show the current technical, methodological and organisational potential of this method. The Austrian field trial tried to assess the impact of a videobased feedback system on learner and novice drivers by analysing safety relevant behaviour from data collected in naturalistic circumstances.

Evaluation of newly designed tunnel characteristics

In order to evaluate some newly designed tunnel elements, data was collected from 69 test persons driving along a 30 km test route on the Austrian highway A9. Tunnel characteristics such as portal design, lighting situation, safety features were assessed by instrumented observation of driving behaviour, thus recording speed choice and driving errors, semi-structured interviews and psychological questionnaires.

Evaluation of different retro-reflective traffic signs

The aim of this field study was to analyse several eye movement characteristics at different laminated retro-reflective traffic signs with regard to their specific impact on gaze duration in real night-time driving situations. The results were based on 63 subjects and were derived from an in-vehicle observation system equipped with an eye-mark recording system.