Towards Understanding the Influence of Environmental Distractors on Pedestrian Behavior Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Although it is known that pedestrians’ injury rate is associated with specific urban environments; to the best of our knowledge, no research had systematically explored the effect of environmental distractions on pedestrian's crossing behavior and safety. The goal of this experiment was to obtain preliminary exploration of environmental distractions that influence pedestrians of different age groups. Eight children aged 7-8, eight children aged 9-10 and twelve adults participated in the experiment that took place in an urban simulated environment in a semi-immersive virtual reality lab. Participants viewed 13 dynamic scenarios that illustrated typical road-side crossing situations. Each scenario included distractors, which were defined by five characteristics: proximity, height, prominence, context relativity and dynamicity. Participants were required to press a designated crossing button as fast as possible, if they felt it was safe to cross, then they were required to state which distractors they remembered out of a checklist. Finally they had to rate their perceived safety of the crossing site. Close, high, prominent or dynamic distractors were more memorable. Scenarios crowded with distractors caused participants to rate the crossing site as less safe for crossing. Children aged 7-8 ranked the crossing sites as safer for crossing in comparison to the other age groups, and regardless of the number of distractors in the scenario. Unlike them, adults and children aged 9-10 showed more sensitivity to the number of distractors in the scene, and ranked the site as more dangerous for crossing when more distractors were visible. A preliminary classification of environmental distractors, according to their influence on pedestrians’ attention and with regard to their age group was created.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015