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Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering




Based on past studies, exit ramp terminals are common locations for drivers to enter a physically separated highway in the wrong direction. Currently, many drivers, especially nonlocal drivers, often rely on voice-guided navigation apps and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices to navigate their routes on and off freeways. A few studies have reported that GPS devices sometimes give drivers wrong information and cause wrong-way entry onto a freeway, especially at some confusing interchanges, such as partial cloverleaf and compressed diamond interchanges. The access points located close to exit ramps may also cause a problem for GPS devices in sending accurate voice-guidance. It is unknown if current GPS devices are capable of properly informing drivers regarding turning movements in advance of exit ramp terminals at some common interchanges. The objective of this study is to evaluate the most commonly used GPS devices/navigation apps to identify existing problems and their potential for reducing wrong-way driving (WWD) incidents at interchange terminals. Field experiments were conducted at 10 common freeway interchanges or interchanges with nearby access driveways in the state of Alabama. Results show that most GPS devices have difficulty in providing correct guidance when the spacing between an access point and an exit ramp is less than 300 feet. The comparison of five different GPS devices used on the same routes reveals that navigation apps have more limitations in guiding drivers than stand-alone GPS devices. Recommendations are offered to help GPS mapping companies improve their devices or add new features to reduce the occurrence of WWD.


Open Access funded by Periodical Office, Chang’an University under a Creative Commons license.