John M. Sullivan

Associate Research Scientist Emeritus



2901 Baxter Rd. Rm 302

Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Research Interests and Areas of Expertise

Human factors; driver vision; accident analysis; simulator studies of driver vehicle interface, behavioral adaptation, ADAS systems, mental models, vehicle automation

Dr. John M. Sullivan is an Associate Research Scientist and Head of the Human Factors Group at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute where he has been conducting research on human factors and driver visibility, performance, and distraction since 1998. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan’s Human Performance Center in experimental psychology in 1986. Dr. Sullivan’s research investigates the influence of visibility, particularly at night, on driving performance, pedestrian vulnerability, and other factors. This has included studies on drivers’ experience of glare, fatal pedestrian related crash analysis, headlamp beam use, night vision systems, and object detection under a variety of illumination conditions.

Dr. Sullivan has published several crash studies that have established links between pedestrian risk and vehicle travel speed, seasonal variation in light levels, and other factors related to roadway geometry. Many of these analyses were made possible by linking external datasets to the crash records to relate, for example, position of the sun or vehicle equipment to crash risk. Dr. Sullivan has also conducted surveys of driver use and opinion of ADAS technologies in field tests of advanced assistance technologies.

Dr. Sullivan’s areas of expertise include the statistical analysis of crash datasets and naturalistic data, experimental design, evaluation of driver interface technologies, survey construction, driving simulator scenario development, measurement of human visual performance, driver workload and decision-making, and application of logistic regression analysis.


Dr. Sullivan is a reviewer for the following scientific journals: Human Factors, Accident Analysis and Prevention, Perception, SAE, and IEEE Transaction on Intelligent Transportation Systems. He is also a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Society of Automotive Engineers.


Key Projects

Student Engagement

Past projects involving student engagement included support for intersection signal identification in video analyses, field observation of gap acceptance judgements by drivers turning left across traffic, simulator studies of driver performance with lane departure systems, and collection of EEG data during driving with cognitive loads.


Brooklyn, New York

Personal Interests/Hobbies

Music, cooking

Additional Information

Dr. Sullivan’s Website

OCRID: 0000-0001-6732-0699

SCOPUS: 5451414900

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