Pedestrians' estimates of their own visibility: A simple and effective computer-based technique

Department of Psychology, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA.
Journal of safety research (Impact Factor: 1.34). 04/2012; 43(2):101-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2012.01.002
Source: PubMed


Research has shown that both pedestrians and drivers drastically overestimate pedestrians' nighttime visibility (NHSTSA, 2008a, 2008b; Owens & Sivak, 1996) and fail to appreciate the safety benefits of proven conspicuity aids. One solution is educational intervention (Tyrrell, Patton, & Brooks, 2004); however, the on-road assessment of its effectiveness is expensive and time consuming.

Experiment One introduces a computer-based alternative to the field-based approach, successfully replicating the previous study's trends among 94 students who either receive or do not receive an educational lecture. Experiment Two utilizes the simulation's portability to determine if professional roadway workers have a more accurate understanding of pedestrian conspicuity than students.

RESULTS among 88 workers show they do not significantly appreciate the advantages of effective retroflective material configurations or vehicle headlamp settings, for example, any better than non-lectured students in Experiment One.

The study's results demonstrate the need for education among all pedestrians and the benefits of efficient testing methods.

Download full-text


Available from: S. A. Balk, Apr 23, 2015
  • Source
    • "Importantly, post-intervention visibility judgments of retroreflective material on the joints increased by over 50% relative to pre-intervention judgments. These results are similar to those found by Tyrrell, et al. (2004b) and Balk, et al. (2012). Both of these studies found that an educational intervention can improve pedestrians' understanding of nighttime visual challenges and their appreciation for retroreflective material. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Most vehicle-into-pedestrian fatalities occur at night, and insufficient conspicuity of pedestrians’ clothing is a key causal factor. Marking pedestrians with retroreflective material can dramatically enhance their nighttime conspicuity, particularly when it is configured to present biological motion information to drivers. Although those who exercise outdoors at night are at particular risk and are therefore a key target audience for conspicuity-enhancing clothing, their willingness to obtain and use conspicuity aids has not been explored systematically. There is, however, evidence to suggest that pedestrians fail to appreciate visibility problems at night (e.g., typical pedestrians overestimate their own visibility and underestimate the benefits of wearing conspicuity-enhancing clothing.) The purpose of the current project was to measure the impact of an educational intervention on relevant attitudes of a sample of frequent outdoor exercisers. Results suggest that prior to the educational intervention the participants appreciated neither the magnitude of the nighttime conspicuity problem nor the benefits of biological motion configurations. We also found that a carefully designed lecture can result in a significantly improved understanding of nighttime conspicuity issues and a greater interest in (and willingness to purchase) conspicuity-enhancing athletic garments. The findings from this study are expected to be useful for encouraging pedestrians to take steps to enhance their own conspicuity at night.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In response to consumer complaints of being disabled by modern headlighting technologies, several recent studies have assessed whether drivers accurately assess the extent their ability to see is degraded by headlight glare. This research has suggested that drivers can overestimate the extent to which glare from headlights degrades their ability to see relatively simple stimuli. The present studies extended this research by quantifying the accuracy with which drivers judge that glare interferes with their ability to see pedestrians at night. In Experiment 1, 21 participants judged their ability to see a roadside pedestrian in two clothing configurations and with three intensities of glare present. In Experiment 2, 65 new participants responded to a roadside pedestrian in the same conditions. On average, participants overestimated the distance at which they would see a pedestrian by a factor of more than three. Interestingly, the participants’ overestimates were significantly greater when the pedestrian wore a retroreflective vest. The participants judged that headlight glare would have a larger effect on their ability to see a pedestrian who was not wearing retroreflective material than for a pedestrian who wore a retroreflective vest.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Much is known about pedestrian behaviour and crash risk in developed countries. In contrast, the literature on pedestrian crash risk in developing countries reveals wide gaps in knowledge and understanding, and a comprehensive assessment is lacking. In particular, pedestrian behaviour in developing countries is fundamentally different in comparison to developed countries, and is influenced by a variety of less well understood contributing factors, leading to difficulty in modelling and predicting pedestrian crash risk and in turn identifying effective safety countermeasures. This paper provides a comprehensive synthesis of the factors known to influence pedestrian crash risk in developing countries, then focuses on Ethiopia as a specific example. The paper identifies where critical gaps in knowledge exist regarding pedestrian crash risk and associated behaviour in developing countries--a set of knowledge gaps which collectively are significant. The paper concludes by articulating a critical research path moving forward, with the aim to achieve an improved understanding of developing country pedestrian crash risk, and an ultimate goal of identifying effective pedestrian safety countermeasures suited to the unique challenges faced by transport system managers in developing countries.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Oct 2013
Show more