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Shannon Roberts - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Shannon Roberts

Associate Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Shannon Roberts is an expert in understanding how technology and infrastructure guide the design of driver-vehicle interactions.

Expertise (4)

Technology and driving behavior

Young drivers' behavior

Smart Communities and Infrastructure

Driving behavior


Shannon Roberts is associate director of the New England University Transportation Center and a human factors engineer who studies and evaluates the interaction between humans and systems within the domain of transportation safety.

Her research is focused on three areas: studying and improving young drivers’ behavior, developing feedback and warning systems to improve driving behavior and examining how advanced technology and driving automation systems alter driver behavior.

Social Media






ADHD and Teen Driving Webinar with Shannon Roberts


Education (3)

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Ph.D., Industrial and Systems Engineering

University of Wisconsin-Madison: M.S., Industrial and Systems Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: B.S., Mechanical Engineering

Select Media Coverage (3)

How the role of truck drivers will change with the increase in automated trucks

SiriusXM Road Dog Trucking  radio


Shannon Roberts, is interviewed on commercial satellite radio about a nearly $2 million grant to study how the role of truck drivers will change with the increase in automated trucks by involving truckers in the process. “Some are embracing the technology, welcoming it into the vehicle with an appreciation for how it can improve safety, reduce crashes, reduce injuries,” Roberts says. “Then, on the flip side … you have people who oppose the technology, usually with this understanding that if the technology is in my vehicle, and in particular if I drive for a living, then this is threatening my livelihood.”

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UMass will lead regional transportation research center

Daily Hampshire Gazette  


Knodler is joined by Shannon Roberts, associate director and assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and co-director of the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory, in overseeing the UMass center, which will have a more formal role in helping to set the region’s priority and focus areas, and will receive increased funding to carry out the center’s mission. “The time to make a generational impact in equitable transportation safety is now,” Roberts said.

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UMass gets $15M grant to help study next generation of safer, smarter roads

MassLive  online


“So all this work has been going on individually,” said Shannon Roberts, who will serve as the associate director of the New England consortium and is an assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and co-director of the Arbella Insurance Human Performance Laboratory located at UMass Amherst.

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Select Publications (5)

Frequency and Quality of Exposure to Adaptive Cruise Control and Impact on Trust, Workload, and Mental Models

Accident Analysis & Prevention

2023 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) support drivers with some driving tasks. However, drivers may lack appropriate knowledge about ADAS resulting in inadequate mental models. This may result in drivers misusing ADAS, or mistrusting the technologies, especially after encountering edge-case events (situations beyond the capability of an ADAS where the system may malfunction or fail) and may also adversely affect driver workload. Literature suggests mental models could be improved through exposure to ADAS-related driving situations, especially those related to ADAS capabilities and limitations.

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The effect of driving style on responses to unexpected vehicle cyberattacks


2023 Vehicle cybersecurity is a serious concern, as modern vehicles are vulnerable to cyberattacks. How drivers respond to situations induced by vehicle cyberattacks is safety critical. This paper sought to understand the effect of human drivers’ risky driving style on response behavior to unexpected vehicle cyberattacks. A driving simulator study was conducted wherein 32 participants experienced a series of simulated drives in which unexpected events caused by vehicle cyberattacks were presented. Participants’ response behavior was assessed by their change in velocity after the cybersecurity events occurred, their post-event acceleration, as well as time to first reaction.

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Factors affecting drivers’ off-road glance behavior while interacting with in-vehicle voice interfaces

Accident Analysis & Prevention

2023 In-vehicle voice-based interfaces have been massively embedded in modern vehicles as a countermeasure to visual-manual distractions. However, limited data are available regarding the actual visual demands imposed on the driver when interacting with such an interface. How those factors that are associated with the drivers themselves affect their visual behavior when interacting with an in-vehicle voice-based interface remains understudied. This study focused on investigating factors affecting drivers’ off-road visual behavior while interacting with a voice-based interface.

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Looking out or Looking Away?—Exploring the Impact of Driving With a Passenger on Young Drivers’ Eye Glance Behavior

Human Factors

2022 Objective To explore how passenger presence and the degree of association between young driver and passenger influences young drivers’ eye glance behavior when they are subjected to distraction. Background Young drivers (18–20 years old) are at an elevated crash risk when subjected to distraction. They are likely to be distracted even further when they drive with passengers. However, the eye glance behavior of these drivers when driving with passengers has not been explored.

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Driver behavior and performances on in-vehicle display based speed compliance

Accident Analysis & Prevention

2021 Traffic safety, and the inherent risks associated with speeding, continue to remain a national priority. Advances in both roadway and vehicle technology have created potential mechanisms to mitigate speeding behaviors. This driving simulator study evaluated the effects of alternative ways to increase driver safety by investigating the characteristics of specific driving cues and drivers’ response rates to those cues. The study builds upon existing approaches to symbolically deliver Traffic Control Devices (TCDs), specifically speed alerts, at different locations within the vehicle to reduce cognitive distraction and prevent visual crowding so that drivers can properly select their speed and focus upon the roadway environment.

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