Impact of Road Information Assistive Systems on Pedestrian Crossing Safety
NHTSA (2019) reported that road-related fatalities in the United States (US) decreased in 2018 by 2.4% when compared with 2017. Nonetheless, pedestrian fatalities increased by 3.4% in the same period, reaching 6,283 deaths, the highest number since 1990. Similarly, pedestrian fatalities in urban areas have increased by 69% since 2009. Fatal crashes caused 3,267 deaths in Puerto Rico during the 2009-2018 period, out of which 31% were pedestrians. One of the riskier roadway situations for pedestrians is uncontrolled crossings at midblock or unsignalized intersections. Studies have found that crashes at uncontrolled crossings are related to the crossing conflicts, excessive vehicle speeds, inadequate conspicuity/visibility, drivers not yielding to pedestrians, and insufficient separation from traffic. In addition, the use of handheld multimedia devices is growing exponentially, with approximately 1.2 devices for every person in the US alone. The popularity of these devices has resulted in distracted road users. However, these handheld multimedia devices can be used to provide information to a pedestrian in a connected environment. The proper development and future implementation of connected technology, such as vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) and pedestrian-to-infrastructure (P2I), has a high potential for improving safety. These technologies can be used to inform users of existing road conditions, available services, and unexpected events in the highway network. Vulnerable road users could potentially benefit from receiving real-time information to assist them in making properly informed decisions. The objective of this research is to study the impact of Road Information Assistive Systems (RIAS) on the ability of a pedestrian to cross the roadway. This project will use Virtual Reality equipment to study the effect on pedestrians’ decisions in roadway crossing maneuvers when having an active RIAS in a simulated smartphone or tablet. The intent is to simulate as if the pedestrian is operating in a P2I environment, and the connected device is giving information about the road and traffic conditions to assist the pedestrian in making the crossing maneuver safely. The study will analyze the performance of at-risk and vulnerable pedestrian populations, such as older adults and persons with functional diversity.