Effect of Distractions on a Pedestrian’s Waiting Behavior at Traffic Signals: Observational Study

Distraction has been a point of interest in transportation research for many years. Recently, this interest has extended from distracted drivers to distracted pedestrians. Past research suggests that distracted pedestrians are less likely to show cautionary crossing habits and tend toward increased crossing times. This study provided information about the pedestrian waiting to cross and investigated how distraction and other factors may have affected pedestrian start-up time and crossing behaviors. Researchers surreptitiously observed 760 pedestrians at three intersections in College Station, Texas, and coded their characteristics and behavior in real time. Characteristics recorded were age, gender, distraction, and grouping. Distractions recorded were talking on a phone, texting, listening to music, eating, drinking, smoking, and other. The pedestrian groups were no group (crossed alone), mixed-age group, and peer group. Behaviors recorded were glancing before entering the crosswalk, entering the crosswalk early, walking within the crosswalk markings, and hurrying across the crosswalk. Pedestrians who texted and pedestrians who talked on a phone had 21% and 31% more start-up time, respectively. Additionally, pedestrians in mixed-age groups had 14% more start-up time. Texting pedestrians were about two times less likely to glance before entering the crosswalk compared with undistracted pedestrians. Similarly, a pedestrian engaged in a phone conversation was about five times less likely to glance. These results may provide insight into ongoing discussion on how to address distracted pedestrians crossing the street.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01587801
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309441322
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 16-2382
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 27 2016 5:11PM