A driving simulator evaluation of road markings and symbolic signs on vehicle-pedestrian conflicts

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Radhameris A Gómez
Siby Samuel
Matthew R. E. Romoser
Luis Roman Gerardino
Michael Knodler
John Collura
Donald L Fisher

Pedestrians are amongst the most vulnerable of road users. A common way of accommodating pedestrians at non-signalized intersections is through the use of mid-block crosswalks. Pedestrian crashes at marked mid-block crosswalks are often no less frequent than at unmarked mid-block crosswalks.

The risk to pedestrians is especially high when a driver’s view of pedestrians in a crosswalk is obstructed as the driver approaches the crosswalk creating a multi-threat situation for the pedestrian. Such a situation is too risky to study on the open road, but not on a driving simulator. Among the most effective and least costly of the safety alternatives are advance yield markings. This study uses a driving simulator to evaluate vehicle-pedestrian conflicts in sight-limited scenarios with advance yield markings and “Yield Here to Pedestrians” symbol signs as well as the standard crosswalk treatments and signs. Measures of drivers’ performance include actual crashes as well as the drivers’ glancing behavior to determine if the drivers approaching a marked midblock crosswalk look for pedestrians in the crosswalk more frequently and sooner in high risk, multiple-threat scenarios when advance yield markings and prompts are present than when standard markings and prompts are used. The results suggest that fewer crashes occur with advance yield markings. And we find that drivers look much more frequently and much sooner for pedestrians with advance yield markings. Uses and limitations surrounding the development of scenarios on a driving simulator and the advantages and limitations of using driving simulation to study problems such as this are discussed.

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