Shanghai Naturalistic Driving Study

Work Summary

  • Collected 60 Chinese drivers’ real-world driving data, with a total mileage of 161,055 km.
  • Investigated decision-making mechanisms for essential driving behaviors based on 108,933 car-following events, 17,309 lane-change events, 7,845 cut-in events, and 3,256 vehicle-pedestrian conflicts.
  • Calibrated, validated, and cross-compared five representative car-following models and found that the full velocity difference model performed best for Shanghai drivers.
  • Investigated the impact of a forward collision warning system on drivers’ car following behavior.
  • Developed two autonomous car-following algorithms with deep reinforcement learning: one can perform human-like car following; the other is capable of controlling vehicle velocity in a safe, efficient, and comfortable manner.

General Information

Shanghai Naturalistic Driving Study (SH-NDS) was jointly conducted by Tongji University, General Motors (GM), and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). The SH-NDS aimed to learn more about the vehicle use, vehicle handling, and safety consciousness of Chinese drivers.

The launch of Shanghai Naturalistic Driving Study

Five GM light vehicles equipped with Strategic Highway Research Program 2 (SHRP2) NextGen data acquisition systems (DAS) were used to collect real-world driving data. The three-year data collection procedure started in December 2012 and ended in December 2015. Driving data were collected daily from 60 licensed Shanghai drivers who, altogether, travelled 161,055 km during the study period. The 60 participants were randomly sampled from the population of licensed Shanghai drivers and the distribution of gender, age, and driving experience of the sample was in line with that of Chinese driver population.

Data Collection System

The DAS uses an interface box to collect vehicle controller area network (CAN) data, an accelerometer for longitudinal and lateral acceleration, a radar system that measures range and range rate to the lead vehicle and the vehicles in adjacent lanes, a light meter, a temperature/humidity sensor, a global positioning system (GPS) sensor, and four synchronized camera views to validate the sensor-based findings (Fitch and Hanowski, 2012).

As shown in the following figure, the four camera views monitor the driver’s face, the forward roadway, the roadway behind the vehicle, and the driver’s hand maneuvers. The data collection frequency ranges from 10 to 50 Hz. The DAS automatically starts when the vehicle’s ignition is turned on, and automatically powers down when the ignition is turned off.

Four camera views of the SH-NDS


. Impact on Car Following Behavior of A Forward Collision Warning System with Headway Monitoring. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 111, 226-244, 2020.

PDF Project Source Document

. Human-Like Autonomous Car-Following Planning by Deep Reinforcement Learning. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 97, 348-368, 2018.

PDF Project

. Modeling Car-Following Behavior on Urban Freeways in Shanghai: A Naturalistic Driving Study. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 93, 425-445, 2018.

PDF Project Slides

. An Exploration of Cut-In Behavior and Gap Acceptance Using Shanghai Naturalistic Driving Data. Accepted for Presentation at the 97th TRB Annual Meeting, 2017.


. Calibrating Car-Following Models on Urban Expressways for Chinese Drivers Using Naturalistic Driving Data. Oral Presentation at the 96th TRB Annual Meeting, Transportation Research Part C, 2017.

Project Slides Source Document

. Impacts of Collision Warning System on Car following Behavior Based on Naturalistic Driving Data. Journal of Tongji University, Vol. 44, No. 7, pp. 1045-1051, 2016.

PDF Project

. Car-following Headways in Different Driving Situations: A Naturalistic Driving Study in China. Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Naturalistic Driving Research, 2016.


. Impact of a Forward Collision Warning System on Headway and Reaction Time during Car Following. Proceedings of the 14th World Conference on Transport Research, 2016.

PDF Project

. Car-following Headways in Different Driving Situations: A Naturalistic Driving Study. Oral Presentation at the 16th COTA International Conference of Transportation Professionals, 2016.

PDF Project