Joseph Kearney
The University of Iowa
Computer Science
Jodie Plumert
The University of Iowa
Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences

Final Report

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Final Report Summary

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Using Connected Vehicle Technology to Deliver Timely Warnings to Pedestrians

Pedestrian injuries and deaths caused by collisions with motor vehicles are on the rise in the U.S. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2013). One factor that may increase the risk of such collisions is pedestrian mobile device use. Both field observations and controlled experiments indicate that pedestrian road-crossing behavior is impaired by texting and talking on a mobile device (Hatfield & Murphy, 2007; Nasar & Troyer, 2013; Schwebel et al., 2012; Thompson, Rivara, Ayyagari, & Ebel, 2013). Despite the importance of the problem, relatively little is known about effective interventions to reduce the harmful effects mobile device use on pedestrian road-crossing behavior.

The overarching goal of this project is to use connected vehicles technology to deliver warnings to pedestrians via their mobile devices. Connected vehicles technology holds great promise for improving traffic safety by alerting drivers to potential incursions with other vehicles. We will extend this technology by developing a pedestrian warning system delivered via a mobile DSRC device equipped to receive "Here I am" messages from approaching vehicles. We will test this intervention by sending warnings about approaching vehicles to texting and non-texting pedestrians while they cross a road in our large-screen, immersive pedestrian simulator. Our goal is to determine how texting vs. non-texting pedestrians respond to such a warning system and whether texting pedestrians in particular benefit from receiving warnings about unsafe crossings on their mobile devices.

This project will promote multidisciplinary training by providing collaborative research experience to a diverse set of undergraduate and graduate students in psychological science and computer science. The results of this work will also be disseminated to the public through scientific publications and presentations, along with community-based activities such as open house events and safety workshops for the public.

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