This paper explains how we first started testing a commercial device to use in long-term research. Road test evaluations are limited in predicting decline among older adults. Innovations in GPS technology can monitor driving behavior in the actual environments people drive in. Commercial devices that monitor fleets of vehicles are affordable, easy to install, and capture large amounts of data in real-time. (Think trucks for UPS, Budweiser, Ameren, etc.) However, adapting this for research can be challenging. This study sought to adapt a device and determine a data collection interval that produced accurate information about the actual route driven. We tested a tracking device from the fleet management company, Azuga.
The device is capable of taking a snapshot (called a Breadcrumb) every 2 minutes, every 1 minute, or every 30 seconds. Three individuals drove a single course in different vehicles, at different times of days with the device set to these different data capturing intervals. As expected, the 30 second collection interval gave the most accurate route driven and should be used to capture this important data. Using these devices, we can group data over time to look at changes in driving behaviors and patterns, as well as adverse events to determine if driving decline is occurring.
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