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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

January 2007

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

Crosswalks, In-Pavement Warning Lights, Pedestrian Safety, Driving Simulator

Abstract

Pedestrian safety is among one of the largest concerns in the transportation profession. Many treatments have been developed and implemented to improve pedestrian safety. This current research focuses on the efficiency of in-pavement warning lights systems and involves multiple objectives. The primary objective is to evaluate the yielding rates and crosswalk usage of existing and proposed in-pavement lights systems with comparisons including before and after data through a case study approach. A secondary objective is to evaluate where drivers are looking when they approach in-pavement lights systems and develop a model to evaluate their behavior.

The research described herein formulated these objectives into two research hypotheses and used statistical evaluation methodologies to provide quantitative and/or qualitative responses to the developed hypotheses. Data on pedestrian and driver behavior in the field, and the interaction between, them was collected using video camera technology in the Amherst, Massachusetts area. Data regarding drivers scan patterns during the approach to a crosswalk with in-pavement warning light system was collected using a driving simulator and an eye tracker. In total, 1,949 non-staged pedestrians and 606 staged pedestrians were observed crossing at the seven crosswalk locations in the field experiment and a total of 32 drivers participated in 576 crosswalk scenarios in the driving simulator evaluation.

The field evaluation resulted in increased yielding rates and crosswalk usage after installation of in-pavement warning lights, while driving simulator evaluation resulted in drivers not becoming accustomed to scanning for lights instead of a pedestrian. Recommendations include installation of in-pavement warning lights at traditional, midblock crosswalks and continued exploration of all crosswalks in the driving simulator evaluation.

First Advisor

Michael A. Knodler

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