Study of Gap Acceptance and Walking Speeds of Pedestrians using Virtual Reality Simulation
The numbers of pedestrians killed on road crashes merits attention. In the United States, 5,987 pedestrian fatalities were registered in 2016; the highest number registered since 1990. One of the riskier roadway situations for pedestrians are uncontrolled crossings (at midblock or unsignalized intersections). Researchers 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. Visibility could be limited by road geometrics, traffic, glare effect, and vehicles with tinted glass. Based on the problem stated above, we propose to use virtual reality simulation to analyze how pedestrians make the decision to cross at an uncontrolled location on urban roads. By not having a control device to assist them in this decision, each pedestrian needs to analyze the existing roadway and operating conditions to decide when an acceptable gap in the vehicle traffic flow is available to safely cross the road.
The study will analyze the ability of pedestrians to detect safe vehicle gap times to cross the road at uncontrolled crossings, their capacity to respond to unexpected hazardous situations, and their walking speed during the crossing maneuver. Our goal is to measure crossing time and mean speed, the time or speed variance, the reaction time, the time to collision, and the quantity of head movements. These variables will be used to compare the performance of the subjects and the successful rate when crossing the road under varying conditions of traffic direction (one-way vs. two-way), lighting (day vs. night), vehicle speed (high vs. low speed) and gender and age groups.