Human Factors Assessment of Pedestrian Roadway Crossing Behaviors

Source: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Pedestrian-vehicle crashes are both common and deadly. The majority of pedestrian fatalities occur outside marked intersection crosswalks. The influences of pedestrian and environmental factors on crossing location choice were examined. A literature review covering factors intrinsic to pedestrians is provided. In addition, pedestrian crossings at 20 different locations were recorded and analyzed. The vast majority of crossings (89 percent of the total observed) took place in the marked intersection crosswalks. Drivers are likely to yield to pedestrians. However, while drivers are more likely to yield to pedestrians in the marked crosswalk, pedestrians and vehicles are equally as likely to yield to one another outside the marked crosswalk. The data also suggest that measures that reduce the perceived affordances to cross the roadway (e.g., flowerbeds that separate the sidewalk from the roadway) also reduce the proportion of crossings outside the marked crosswalks. It also appears that pedestrians cross when perceived control of the crossing is greatest. Measures to increase perceived control have the potential to increase (e.g., visible countdown clocks) or decrease (e.g., large medians) crossings in the marked crosswalk. A model to predict pedestrian crossing location is provided. The model uses various environmental variables as predicting factors and was shown to successfully predict an average of 90 percent of the crossings.

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