Before automobiles were invented and widely adopted, animals like horses were the most common mode of transportation. While this change brought significant improvements in terms of reliability and efficiency, it also removed a core component: the emotional relationship that existed between the person and the animal.
While largely ignored, the emotional states of drivers are quite important, as they influence not only driving behavior but also the safety of all road users. For instance, driving can be quite an emotionally stressful experience and, while certain amounts of stress help the driver to remain alert and attentive, too much or too little can negatively impact driving performance and safety. Furthermore, stress in large doses has been linked to a large array of adverse health conditions such as depression and various forms of cardiovascular disease.
The Emotion Navigation project aims to help people convert driving experiences into ones that help them not only be safe and healthy, but also "feel better" after the drive. Feeling good at the end of a long day's commute home can have beneficial effects that go beyond the driver, enabling people to come home in a better mood for interacting with others who are important in their home life, facilitating relationships that are core to building resilience and wellbeing.