A Preliminary Study on Driver’s Mental Workload in Urban and Rural Environment

Nurainaa KABILMIHARBI¹, Nor Kamaliana KHAMIS¹∗, Madihah MUJAINI²

Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia1,2,3,4,5,6,8

School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia7


Page 58 – 62   |   Vol. 5 No. 2 2020   |   Available online on 1 December 2020


Statistics showed that mental workload is among the top 10 causes of accident in Malaysia which leads to more than a thousand deaths from 2011 to 2018. Driving distraction forces the driver to focus on causes other than driving thus, this condition will increase the mental workload among the drivers. Factors that can contribute to the increment of driver’s workload includes vehicle, human-related and external factors. This study aims to assess the driver’s mental workload using two types of subjective evaluation namely the NASA TLX and Karolinska Sleeping Scale (KSS) on different types of road environment complexity.

Methods: Six healthy participants performed a simulated driving task for two different road scenes which are urban and rural road where the NASA-TLX and KSS score were recorded.
Results: Results show that the different road environment complexity affects the driver’s mental workload differently where NASA-TLX average score for urban road is higher compared to the score for rural road. On the other hand, KSS level indicates a higher score on sleepiness level when driving on the rural road compared to driving on the urban road.

Conclusion: These findings might be useful as a reference to further understanding of driver’s mental workload when driving on different type of road environment complexity.


Driver’s Mental Workload, Road Environment Complexity, NASA-TLX, KSS

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Human Factors & Ergonomics Journal (HFEJ), eISSN: 2590-3705  is the official Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Malaysia.  The journal is published on a biannual basis. HFEJ aims to address current research in the field of Ergonomics in addition to the broad coverage of cognitive ergonomics, user experience, physical ergonomics and others such as transportation, industrial design and industrial engineering. HFEJ is a member of, and subscribes to the principles of the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), as such we only accept original work.