Archive for category pedestrians
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.
the final version of your article Pedestrians’ road crossing decisions and body parts’ movements is now available online, containing full bibliographic details.
- Road-crossing simulator synched with a 3D motion capturing system was built
- Time pressure and longer wait times cause riskier crossing decisions
- Pedestrians adjusted posture, crossing speed and timing of crossing to the risk taken
- Body parts’ movement prior to the crossing can be divided into four increments
In this study we examined pedestrians’ crossing decision, body parts’ movement and full body movement, just before and during road crossing in a simulated setup. To accomplish this, a novel experimental setup for analyzing pedestrians’ crossing behavior and motion was developed where the simulated display was synchronized with a 3D motion capturing system. Twenty participants, divided into control and an experimental time pressure group, observed sixteen short (less than 30 seconds) and long road (70 seconds or more) crossing scenarios with varying crossing opportunities. Based on the crossing opportunities they were asked to cross a 3.6 m wide one-lane one way urban road. It was found that the crossing initiation process consists of four incremental movements of body parts: the head and the shoulder first; the hip, wrist and elbow second; the knee as a separate joint, and finally the ankle. Results showed that pedestrians’ decision to cross and body parts movement are influenced by time pressure and wait time for a safe crossing opportunity. Specifically, pedestrians prepare their body parts earlier, initiate their crossing earlier, and adjust their speed to compensate for the risk taken in less safe or non-safe crossing opportunities. Within the control group, women tended to be more risk avoiding than men, however those differences disappeared in the time pressure group. Most importantly, the findings provide initial evidence that this novel simulation configuration can be used to gain precise knowledge of pedestrians’ decision-making and movement processes.
What did we learn about pedestrians crossing movement?
Pedestrians change their strategy as a function of internal and external reasons:
- Take higher risk when crossing opportunities are sparse or when they are under time pressure
- Prepare their movement in advance by adjusting body position
- Change the timing of crossing as a function of perceived risk
- Adjust their crossing speed to the perceived risk
Kalantarov, S. , Riemer, R., Oron-Gilad, T. (in press). Pedestrians’ road crossing decisions and body parts’ movements. Transportation Research Part F: Psychology and Behaviour.
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).