The EU funded project FOT-Net Data organised a webinar on “Context, functions, use cases, research questions and hypotheses” on 12 November 2014. The objective of the webinar was to transfer knowledge about the FESTA methodology for designing and conducting Field Operational Tests. The FESTA handbook can be downloaded from:

Oliver Carsten, of the Institute for Transport Studies of the University of Leeds and involved in the creation of the FESTA methodology, presented FESTA “V”[1]. The FESTA handbook establishes the process to guarantee the best quality possible during each step when designing and conducting a FOT or NDS (Naturalistic Driving Study). The handbook went through a series of thorough revisions; the most recent one, revision 5, also includes NDS, cooperative systems etc.

Oliver Carsten presented the top down approach of the FESTA “V” starting at the top left corner. This webinar focused on the preparation phase including the function identification & description, use cases and research questions & hypotheses. FESTA describes functions instead of ITS systems. Functions in the FESTA context relate to the aides that ITS technologies provide to the user. Functions can be single autonomous, for example AEB (autonomous emergency breaking), or a combination of functions, for example autonomous AEB and FCW (forward collision warning). A study can be designed around the single effect of each function or the combined effect of the two functions. Studies involving cooperative systems are more difficult and complex to set up.

He then presented the 6 areas of potential system impact on behaviour based on Draskoczy et al[2]. Systems can have a direct effect on the users and driving, or an indirect effect both on the user and non-users. The system may modify the interaction between users and non-users and the accident consequences. There may also be an effect of combination with other systems.

Oliver Carsten explained the strategic, tactical and control levels of the driving task, based on the model developed by Michon[3]. Driving tasks are vehicle control, following the road, avoidance of collisions, monitoring of speed, rule compliance and way finding. Other mediating factors such as experience, attitudes etc. may play a role. The effect can be short-term or long-term and the effect of system design can be intended or unintended.

When setting up a study, the researcher must be aware which impact areas to cover, such as safety, efficiency, environment, mobility, acceptance and trust, usage, adoption and penetration.

Also a more bottom-up approach can be applied, starting from use cases and leading to the development of hypotheses concerning specific scenarios. The FESTA Handbook defines a use case as a specific event in which a system is expected to behave according to a specified function.

The webinar was concluded by a series of questions as listed below:

Haibo described an accident in which he was involved when a reversing vehicle hit his car and the other driver complained that the rear camera didn’t detect anything behind. Haibo questioned if drivers are developing reliance on modern in-car technologies. Oliver very much agreed and pointed out that FOT research needs to make sure that on-board devices do not replace driver’s own safety checking.


[2] Draskóczy, M., Carsten, O. and Kulmala, R. (1998). Road safety guidelines. Deliverable B5.2 of CODE project (TR1103). Atkins Wootton Jeffreys, Birmingham, UK. Available at:

[3] Michon, J.A. (1985). A critical review of driver behaviour models. In Evans, L. and Schwing, R. G. (Eds.), Human Behavior and Traffic Safety. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 485-520.

For the presentation, please click here Carsten – Context, functions, use cases, RQs and hypotheses 141112

To watch the webinar, please click here

Original author: maria