Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial and Systems Engineering


Industrial Engineering


Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Jyh-Hone Wang


In modern society, quality of life is greatly impacted by human mobility. The lifestyles and abilities of each age group creates different risks and challenges associated with mobility. This research investigated the mobility challenges facing different generations and abilities.

The first part of this research focused on the effect of mobility technology on younger generations by exploring the impact of hand-held and hands-free texting on driving safety. A questionnaire and a driving simulator experiment were conducted to investigate the impact of text driving on drivers’ performance. Conclusions regarding the impacts of different forms of texting, text complexity, and response mode on drivers’ driving performance were drawn.

In the second part of this research, challenges faced by older adult drivers were identified and the impact of assistance using advanced technologies was explored. First, a questionnaire was conducted to investigate older adult drivers' perceptions about a number of possible driving challenges. Then, the in-vehicle technologies which mitigate these challenges were identified. In this study, the acceptance of the identified technologies is explored by conducting a second questionnaire. A four dimensional model which included perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived safety, and perceived annoyance is considered in the second questionnaire. According to the responses, potential challenges that older adult drivers were facing and particular in-vehicle technologies which could help ease these driving challenges were identified.

The third and final part of this research focused on sidewalk compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations intended to provide safe mobility across all generations and physical abilities. In this part of the research, an automated system to assist the current sidewalk measurement and evaluation process at Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) was identified and gauge repeatability and reproducibility studies were conducted on the system to test the system's accuracy, quality and reliability. The validated data were compared to the data which were collected with the conventional (manual) method. The compatibility of data with the current RIDOT’s Geographic Information System (GIS) database were studied. Additionally, based on ADA requirements, six indices were developed for sidewalk evaluation using the automated system data. In order to validate the indices, a correlation study was conducted between the indices and the pedestrians perception. This study provided recommendations to the RIDOT authorities to prepare a sidewalk transition plan that complies with ADA requirements automatically and objectively.



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