Impact of Smartphone Distraction on Pedestrians’ Crossing Behaviour: An Application of Head-Mounted Immersive Virtual Reality

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PubDate: Jun 2018

Teams: Delft University of Technology; Ryerson University

Writers: Anae Sobhani, Bilal Farooq

PDF: Impact of Smartphone Distraction on Pedestrians’ Crossing Behaviour: An Application of Head-Mounted Immersive Virtual Reality

Abstract

A novel head-mounted virtual immersive/interactive reality environment (VIRE) is utilized to evaluate the behaviour of participants in three pedestrian road crossing conditions while 1) not distracted, 2) distracted with a smartphone, and 3) distracted with a smartphone with a virtually implemented safety measure on the road. Forty-two volunteers participated in our research who completed thirty successful (complete crossing) trials in blocks of ten trials for each crossing condition. For the two distracted conditions, pedestrians are engaged in a maze-solving game on a virtual smartphone, while at the same time checking the traffic for a safe crossing gap. For the proposed safety measure, smart flashing and color changing LED lights are simulated on the crosswalk to warn the distracted pedestrian who initiates crossing. Surrogate safety measures as well as speed information and distraction attributes such as direction and orientation of participant’s head were collected and evaluated by employing a Multinomial Logit (MNL) model. Results from the model indicate that females have more dangerous crossing behaviour especially in distracted conditions; however, the smart LED treatment reduces this negative impact. Moreover, the number of times and the percentage of duration the head was facing the smartphone during a trial and a waiting time respectively increase the possibility of unsafe crossings; though, the proposed treatment reduces the safety crossing rate. Hence, our study shows that the smart LED light safety treatment indeed improves the safety of distracted pedestrians and enhances the successful crossing rate.

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