The inLane consortium recently conducted a survey to better understand the experiences users have had with navigation systems.

The respondent group consisted of 887 people. The vast majority of the respondents were male (65%) and within the age range of 25 to 49 years old (70%). Nearly all respondents live within cities of at least 100,000 people (78%), have university degrees (68%) and frequently use the computer (87%). Among the group members, commuting was most often cited as the main purpose for driving (53%).

Most respondents admitted to using smartphone applications for navigating (54%), as opposed to dedicated navigation devices, such as TomTom, or systems that are integrated in the car. However, almost half of the respondents (49%) would prefer to use a system was already integrated in the car.

Nearly all of those surveyed said that they use navigation systems to get around in unfamiliar areas (95%). In these situations, the most important feature of a navigation system is its route guidance function (average score of 4.55 out of 5). However, when using navigation systems in familiar areas, drivers are most interested in having information on traffic conditions (3.67 / 5) and the estimated time of arrival (3.47 / 5). When using navigation systems in unfamiliar areas, users most often complain about not having lane-level navigation guidance that would provide timely information on  the need to change lanes (4.13 / 5), as well as lack of accurate information on the current traffic situation and traffic jams at lane level (3.71 / 5) and bad road conditions (3.64 / 5). Overall, the biggest concerns with using current navigation devices are loss of signal (2.92 / 5) and data privacy (2.54 / 5).

According to respondents, the main reasons for missing an exit in an unfamiliar area are lack of clarity about the exact exit the instruction is meant for (i.e. lack of reference points) (3.96 / 5) and that, therefore, the driver is unsure whether he or she is positioned in the right lane (3.72 / 5). Similar reasons were also given for situations where the driver takes the wrong lane in a complex highway situation or when the driver accidentally drives in the wrong lane.

In general, those that responded to the survey were hopeful that lane-level navigation would greatly improve driving. In particular, according to respondents, lane-level navigation will make complex intersections more comfortable (4.31 / 5), make driving in unfamiliar or complex areas easier (4.39 / 5), but, more importantly, also make it clearer which turn/exit drivers need to take (4.37 / 5).

Since the inLane solutions rely on Galileo technology, it is interesting to note that most respondents are aware of Galileo (68%) and that it is developed by the EU (61%). However, they do not know that Galileo allows users to know their position with greater precision than what is offered by other available systems (54%).

The full results of the inLane survey are available here.