Pedestrian Traffic Signal Data Accurately Estimates Pedestrian Crossing Volumes

Existing methods of pedestrian travel monitoring are generally inefficient for collecting pedestrian data in many locations over long time periods. In this study, we demonstrate the validity of using a novel and relatively ubiquitous big data source—pedestrian data from high-resolution traffic signal controller logs—as a way of estimating pedestrian crossing volumes. Every time a person presses a pedestrian push button or a pedestrian call is registered at a signal, this information can be logged and archived. To validate these pedestrian signal data against observed pedestrian counts, we recorded over 10,000?h of video at 90 signalized intersections in Utah, and counted around 175,000 people walking. For each hour and crossing, we compared these observed counts to measures of pedestrian activity calculated from traffic signal data, using a set of five simple piecewise linear and quadratic regression models. Overall, our results show that traffic signal data can be successfully used to estimate pedestrian crossing volumes with good accuracy: model-predicted volumes were strongly correlated (0.84) with observed volumes and had a low mean absolute error (3.0). We also demonstrate how our models can be used to estimate annual average daily pedestrian volumes at signalized intersections and identify high pedestrian volume locations. Transportation agencies can use pedestrian signal data to help improve pedestrian travel monitoring, multimodal transportation planning, traffic safety analyses, and health impact assessments.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The data and scripts used to prepare this paper are available online: © National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2021.
  • Authors:
    • Singleton, Patrick A
    • Runa, Ferdousy
  • Publication Date: 2021


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01764198
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-00894
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:22AM