Pedestrians distracted by their smartphone: Are in-ground flashing lights catching their attention? A laboratory study

Larue, Gregoire S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8564-9084 and Watling, Christopher N. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1440-2401 and Black, Alexander A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8671-5167 and Wood, Joanne M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0776-7736 and Khakzar, Mahrokh ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5799-9140 (2020) Pedestrians distracted by their smartphone: Are in-ground flashing lights catching their attention? A laboratory study. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 134:105346. pp. 1-10. ISSN 0001-4575

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Abstract

Pedestrian distraction is a growing road safety concern worldwide. While there are currently no studies linking distraction and pedestrian crash risk, distraction has been shown to increase risky behaviours in pedestrians, for example, through reducing visual scanning before traversing an intersection. Illuminated in-ground Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) embedded into pathways are an emerging solution to address the growing distraction problem associated with mobile use while walking. The current study sought to determine if such an intervention was effective in attracting the attention of distracted pedestrians. We conducted a controlled laboratory study (N = 24) to evaluate whether pedestrians detected the activation of flashing LEDs when distracted by a smartphone more accurately and efficiently when the lights were located on the floor compared to a control position on the wall. Eye gaze movements via an eye tracker and behavioural responses via response times assessed the detection of these flashing LEDs. Distracted participants were able to detect the activation of the floor and wall-mounted LEDs with accuracies above 90%. The visual and auditory distraction tasks increased reaction times by 143 and 124 ms, respectively. Even when distracted, performance improved with floor LEDs close to participants, with reaction time improvements by 43 and 159 ms for the LEDs 2 and 1 ms away from the participant respectively. The addition of floor LED lights resulted in a performance similar to the one observed for wall-mounted LEDs in the non-distracted condition. Moreover, participants did not necessarily need to fixate on the LEDs to detect their activation, thus were likely to have detected them using their peripheral vision. The findings suggest that LEDs embedded in pathways are likely to be effective at attracting the attention of distracted pedestrians. Further research needs to be conducted in the field to confirm these findings, and to evaluate the actual effects on behaviour under real-world conditions.


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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: 04 Mar 2022 02:15
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2022 04:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: Distraction; Pedestrian; Mobile phone; Road intervention; Reaction times; Standing and walking; Crossing
Fields of Research (2008): 12 Built Environment and Design > 1203 Design Practice and Management > 120302 Design Innovation
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170201 Computer Perception, Memory and Attention
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1702 Cognitive Sciences > 170202 Decision Making
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
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): 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
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200408 Injury prevention and control
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology
27 TRANSPORT > 2703 Ground transport > 270311 Road safety
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2019.105346
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/46478

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