Archive for category children
The effects of road environment complexity and age on pedestrian’s visual attention and crossing behavior
Work on pedestrian distraction co-authored with Hagai Tapiro and Yisrael Parmet
Introduction: Little is known how the characteristics of the environment affect pedestrians’ road crossing behavior. Method: In this work, the effect of typical urban visual clutter created by objects and elements in the road proximity (e.g., billboards) on adults and children (aged 9–13) road crossing behavior was examined in a controlled laboratory environment, utilizing virtual reality scenarios projected on a large dome screen. Results: Divided into three levels of visual load, results showed that high visual load affected children’s and adults’ road crossing behavior and visual attention. The main effect on participants’ crossing decisions was seen in missed crossing opportunities. Children and adults missed more opportunities to cross the road when exposed to more cluttered road environments. An interaction with age was found in the dispersion of the visual attention measure. Children, 9–10 and 11–13 years old, had a wider spread of gazes across the scene when the environment was highly loaded—an effect not seen with adults. However, unexpectedly, no other indication of the deterring effect was found in the current study. Still, according to the results, it is reasonable to assume that busier road environments can be more hazardous to adult and child pedestrians. Practical Applications: In that context, it is important to further investigate the possible distracting effect of causal objects in the road environment on pedestrians, and especially children. This knowledge can help to create better safety guidelines for children and assist urban planners in creating safer urban environments.
|A new publication co-authored by Dr. Hagai Tapiro and Prof. Yisrael Parmet.
So often are we reminded about distraction from devices, cell phones or earphones. Yet, the environment we walk in can also have a detrimental effect on our road crossing safety. In this study we show that:
Abstract: Pedestrians are subject to an increasing number of stimuli and distractions derived from the roadside environment. Although the effect of distractions on child road crossing ability was recognized, there has been no systematic exploration of the effects of roadside distractions on child road crossing behavior. This work was aimed at studying the effect of roadside distractions on pedestrian road crossing behavior, focusing on elementary school-aged children, who are less capable of making a safe road crossing decision and are more vulnerable to the effect of distractions. Three types of audio distractions (a. sudden, momentary, and prominent noise, b. multiplicity of auditory elements, and c. continuous loud noise) and similar three types of visual distractions were pre-defined. Fifty-two children (aged 7–13) and adults arrived at the dome virtual reality laboratory and viewed 20 simulated crossing scenarios, embedded with visual and auditory distractions, and decided on the appropriate time to start crossing the virtual road. The results demonstrate that when exposed to environmental distractions, participants chose smaller crossing gaps, took more time to make crossing decisions, were slower to respond to the crossing opportunity, and allocated less visual attention to the peripheral regions of the road. Those effects were age related, and affected younger participants more significantly. Furthermore, visual distractions affected pedestrian behavior more than auditory type distractions. This study highlights an issue not yet adequately addressed, and the results should be considered by transportation professionals, and road safety educators, so better road safety programs to educate children can be created.
We are excited to present our studies in the 10th University Transportation Centers Spotlight Conference on Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety to be held December 1-2 ,2016 in the Keck Center, Washington DC.
Here is a link to a short description of the BGU pedestrian laboratory.pedestrian-lab-brochure and to a short brief about the work we are presenting (Child Pedestrians’ perceived risk of the crossing place).
This is our most recent publication, accepted for publication in Safety Science.
Please cite this article in press as: Tapiro, H., et al. Cell phone conversations and child pedestrian’s crossing behavior; a simulator study. Safety Sci. (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2016.05.013
Cell phone conversations and child pedestrian’s crossing behavior; a simulator study
Hagai Tapiro, Yisrael Parmet and Tal Oron-Gilad
Child pedestrians are highly represented in fatal and severe road crashes and differ in their crossing behavior from adults. Although many children carry cell phones, the effect that cell phone conversations have on children’s crossing behavior has not been thoroughly examined. A comparison of children and adult pedestrians’ crossing behavior while engaged in cell phone conversations was conducted. In a semi-immersive virtual environment simulating a typical city, 14 adults and 38 children (11 children aged 7-8; 18 aged 9-10 and 9 aged 11-13), experienced road crossing related traffic-scene scenarios. They were requested to press a response button whenever they felt it was safe to cross. Eye movements were tracked. Results have shown that all age groups’ crossing behaviors were affected by cell phone conversations. When busy with more cognitively demanding conversation types, participants were slower to react to a crossing opportunity, chose smaller crossing gaps, and allocated less visual attention to the peripheral regions of the scene. The ability to make better crossing decisions improved with age, but no interaction with cell phone conversation type was found. The most prominent improvement was shown in ‘safety gap’; each age group maintained a longer gap than its predecessor younger age group. In accordance to the current study, it is safe to say that cell phone conversations can hinder child and adult pedestrians’ safety. Thereby, it is important to take those findings in account when aiming to train young pedestrians for road-safety and increase public awareness.
Interested in seeing an interactive visualization app of our data?https://eyemove.shinyapps.io/cell-phone/
One more publication within the child pedestrian’s realm of road crossing co-authored by Anat Meir and Yisrael Parmet published in Safety Science, Vol. 80, pages 33-40 (2015)
we explored child-pedestrians’ HP skills employing hazard detection task in virtual settings (our Dome lab). We used the same approach that we have used previously in the driving HP domain to study novice drivers. As pedestrians’ age increased their awareness toward potential hazards increased. 7–9-year-olds reported less instances of FOV obscured by parked vehicles. 7–9-year-olds lingered more in identifying instances of FOV obscured by parked vehicles.
Background. Child-pedestrians are more prone to fail in identifying hazardous situations. Aiming to better understand the development of hazard-perception abilities in dynamic road situations we examined participants’ hazard detection abilities in a virtual environment.
Method. Experienced-adult participants and child-pedestrians observed typical road crossing related scenarios from a pedestrian’s point of view and engaged in a hazard detection task.
Results. Consistent with our hypotheses, less instances of obscured field of view by parked vehicles were reported as hazardous by 7–9-year-olds, who were also prone to linger more in identifying situations depicting field of view partially obscured by parked vehicles compared to all other age groups. Reports of obscured field of view by road curvature as hazardous increased with age.
Conclusions. Understanding child-pedestrians’ shortcomings in evaluating traffic situations contribute to the effort of producing intervention techniques which may increase their attentiveness toward potential hazards and lead toward reduction in their over-involvement in crashes.