Prevalence and dynamics of distracted pedestrian behaviour at railway level crossings: Emerging issues

Larue, Gregoire S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8564-9084 and Watling, Christopher N. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1440-2401 (2022) Prevalence and dynamics of distracted pedestrian behaviour at railway level crossings: Emerging issues. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 165:106508. pp. 1-13. ISSN 0001-4575

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Abstract

Recent increases in pedestrian collisions have led to several studies investigating the effects of distraction on pedestrian behaviour at road intersections. Although distraction has been identified as a contributing factor to pedestrian crashes at railway crossings, only limited research is available regarding the prevalence of this behaviour occurring at railway level crossings. It is, therefore, essential to better understand distraction prevalence at railway crossings to support the use of countermeasures to improve safety outcomes. We conducted field observations at a railway crossing in Brisbane, Australia and its adjacent road intersection to gauge the prevalence of distracted pedestrians. Overall, 585 pedestrians were observed and video recorded during the daytime. The video recordings were coded to estimate the prevalence of distraction behaviour that road users engaged in, factors that affected these proportions, and dynamic changes in behaviour. Compliance with signals was also analysed. We found distraction behaviours such as talking and looking at the mobile screen (41.9%) while walking to be prevalent and affected by age. Highly distractive tasks were found to be less commonplace at the railway crossing, accounting for 3% of the observations. Still, pedestrians at the railway crossing engaged in these highly distractive tasks on their phones for a much longer period of time. While most non-compliances (with traffic lights) occurred among attentive pedestrians and are likely to be intentional, non-compliances by distracted pedestrians were also observed, highlighting that distraction can lead to unsafe decisions or lack of decisions that result in unsafe behaviours. Finally, distraction was found to be a dynamic phenomenon as a few pedestrians stopped engaging in distractive tasks once they reached the crossing, while others engaged in more distractive tasks once they were on the road or crossing. Our study shows that pedestrian distraction is a prevalent issue at railway crossings and future research is required to further understand and mitigate this changing behaviour.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 04:36
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2022 03:19
Uncontrolled Keywords: Safety; Road; Rail; Distraction; Mobile devices; Vulnerable Road Users
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170202 Decision Making
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1507 Transportation and Freight Services > 150702 Rail Transportation and Freight Services
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520402 Decision making
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5204 Cognitive and computational psychology > 520406 Sensory processes, perception and performance
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920409 Injury Control
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 27 TRANSPORT > 2703 Ground transport > 270306 Rail safety
27 TRANSPORT > 2703 Ground transport > 270311 Road safety
27 TRANSPORT > 2703 Ground transport > 270312 Urban rail infrastructure and networks (incl. light and metro rail)
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2021.106508
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/46470

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