2017 Research Project

Development and Evaluation of Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) Safety Interventions

Principal Investigator
Missy Cummings
Duke University
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While autonomous vehicles are expected to reduce the number of fatalities occurring due to driver distraction, little has been done to intervene for the distracted pedestrian ignoring traffic.

To address this gap, we will develop a prototype Android mobile app that will alert pedestrians when they are near areas of high traffic density, including the presence of autonomous vehicles, and advise pedestrians when it is unsafe to cross a street. For this effort, we will determine if an app can be used effectively to advise pedestrians about safe street crossings, a mobile app can make crossing safer for distracted pedestrians, and what the threshold is in terms of reliability that drives trust, or a lack thereof, in this system.

In this effort, we will identify factors that influence pedestrian decisions to enter the roadway and analyze how those decisions can be influenced by vehicle-to-pedestrian communications in different modalities. From this, we will determine what technologies could be leveraged to alert pedestrians of dense traffic areas, in order to alert pedestrians that they are near potentially unsafe areas, and whether such approaches can be used to provide real-time warnings.

We will then also explore how the arrival of vehicle-to-vehicle services could improve upon the base case. Lastly, we will explore what the threshold of reliability is, i.e., what is the level of false alerting, or more importantly, perceived false alerting, that causes people not to use this technology. The results of these efforts will be used to inform the design of the Android prototype.

Following the development of a prototype, a naturalistic experiment will be conducted based on a proven protocol developed for earlier similar experiments. The goal will be to measure the effectiveness of the app as an alerting and warning system for distracted and non-distracted users, as well as the impact of reliability. Dependent variables will be number of successful safe street crossings and number of errors. We will also attempt to develop a version that can be used in real settings in order to get subjective feedback from participants.

The outcome for this study will be the Android prototype and design specifications for an app that can warn a distracted pedestrian or inform an attentive one. Beyond this, we will have experimental results that report on the efficacy of mobile devices as traffic warning and advisory systems, including an established threshold level of reliability. Publications (e.g., peer-reviewed journal article, conference proceeding) will also be developed describing relevant aspects of the design, development and evaluation.

Project Details

Project Type: Research
Project Status: Active
Start Date: 3-1-2017
End Date: 5-1-2019
Contract Year: Year 1
Total Funding from CSCRS: $200,000
Collaborating Organizations:  Duke University; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill