Concept for the prevention of inadequate smartphone use in road traffic
Masters Thesis. Steinbeis SMI Berlin. 2017
Over the past four years, the proportion of smartphone users over the age of 14 has more than doubled from 36 percent (2012) to 74 percent (2016) of the total population. With the advancing, nearly spread-out spread of smartphones, the criticism of the handling of the devices is also increasing. The booming multi-optional technology, led by a multitude of new and innovative apps, is the result of the attention of its users. The stimulus to deal with a device instead of its real environment becomes bigger and bigger with each update. Apart from the actual use of the device, the pseudo-active consumption of information of all kinds poses a problem for the user in dealing with his environment. There is a disruption of everyday communication. You sit at the joint dinner with friends or the partner and the smartphone takes the part of the moderator. The latest news from Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter are now more important than the human being facing you. This phenomenon is called phubbing, an artificial word from the words „phone“ and „stubbing“. Conversations seem to be more and more superficial. We cannot check the news on Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter and at the same time pay full attention to our counterpart. The competent handling of the smartphone does not just mean knowing how a smartphone is served, but also when it makes sense to simply not use it. Studies show that after a three-minute interruption of the concentration we need a good twenty minutes to be mentally back in the previous environment. In addition to the disruption of everyday social interaction, the interruption of concentration, especially in public road traffic, is an issue which is to be examined more closely in the context of the thesis. According to a recent survey by the opinion research institute forsa on behalf of the Automobile Club Traffic (ACV) and the German Traffic Watch (DVW), 64 percent of all German drivers use their smartphone at least occasionally. 71 percent report frequent, or even very often, other traffic users as they use the smartphone. The majority are self-critical, the risky traffic behaviour has become accepted normality. 40 percent of respondents said they were „strongly“ distracted by smartphone use, 40 percent even „very strong“.
In these deflection moments, the smartphone is increasingly taken into the hands, to prevent any approach of boredom already in the approach. Whether it is at the traffic lights, in traffic or simply while driving, the environment and thus the other traffic users are blinded for a short time to elicit the latest information from the smartphone. It is not only telephoned, but also checked e-mails, updated its status in social networks, answered WhatsApp messages, hunted Pokémon, or retrieved the current Bundesliga score. In the thesis, the use of smartphones with the focus on public road traffic is to be investigated and a solution for the integration is to be worked out. In addition, the question is asked how such a solution must be designed to gain acceptance by the users. The following research questions arise for the author, which are to be answered in this thesis.
The leading research question is:
Can a smartphone app reduce the inadequate usage of smartphones within the public transportation?
The subordinate research question is derived from this:
How a smartphone app needs to be designed to prevent drivers from using smartphones on public roads?