Effects of Linear Acceleration on Passenger Comfort During Physical Driving on an Urban Road

Zhen Li, Rui Fu, Chang Wang, Thomas A. Stoffregen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this exploratory study, we examined self-reports of physical discomfort among automobile passengers while being driven on an urban road. Eight adults participated as passengers in an automobile driven by a professional driver on a predetermined course through city traffic. Passengers were driven individually along the route. While underway, participants used a handheld device to indicate momentary feelings of discomfort arising from discrete vehicle motions. We continuously recorded vehicle motion in three axes of linear acceleration and 3 axes of angular velocity. We examined vehicle acceleration during the 3 s preceding each subjective response. We found that the maximum absolute acceleration required to elicit subjective discomfort was lower when vehicle acceleration changed sign (from + to −, or vice versa) than when acceleration was of a constant sign. In addition, participants’ reports of discomfort during the experiment were unrelated to their prior self-reports of generalized susceptibility to motion sickness. The results suggest that our method is valid, and has the potential to offer new insights into motion sickness causality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • Acceleration
  • Driving
  • Motion sickness
  • Passenger discomfort

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