Assessing the effect of pedestrians’ use of cell phones on their walking behaviour: A study based on automated video analysis

Alsaleh, R., Sayred T., and Zaki, M. H.
SAGE publications

The objective of this study was to examine the effect of cell phone use while walking at urban crosswalks. This was undertaken by examining the relationship between tempo-spatial characteristics of gait and the cognitive abilities of pedestrians. The study focused on the effect of distraction, types of distractions, and pedestrian-vehicle interactions at crosswalks.

Experiments were conducted near a college campus in British Columbia. Data were collected using an automatic video which captured the natural movement of pedestrians while minimizing the risk of disturbing their behaviour. Video data was collected from five crosswalks over a two-day period. Data from 357 pedestrians (58% male) were analyzed for this study. Slightly more than one-third (38%) of observed pedestrians engaged in a distracting behaviour while crossing the street.

Results showed that pedestrians who experienced a visual (i.e., texting) or auditory (i.e., talking on the phone) distraction while walking often reduced and controlled their walking speed by adjusting their step length or step frequency. Visually distracted pedestrians had a significantly smaller step length and were less stable in walking.

Reference
Alsaleh, R., Sayed, T., & Zaki, M. H. (2018). Assessing the effect of pedestrians’ use of cell phones on their walking behaviour: A study based on automated video analysis. Transportation Research Record, 0361198118780708.