Traffic and Environmental Cues and Slow-Down Behaviors in Virtual Driving

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Abstract

This study used a driving simulator to investigate whether the presence of pedestrians and traffic engineering designs that reported to have reduction effects on overall traffic speed at intersections can facilitate drivers adopting lower impact speed behaviors at pedestrian crossings. Twenty-eight men (M age = 39.9 yr., SD = 11.5) with drivers’ licenses participated. Nine studied measures were obtained from the speed profiles of each participant. A 14-km virtual road was presented to the participants. It included experimental scenarios of base intersection, pedestrian presence, pedestrian warning sign at intersection and in advance of intersection, and perceptual lane narrowing by hatching lines. Compared to the base intersection, the presence of pedestrians caused drivers to slow down earlier and reach a lower minimum speed before the pedestrian crossing. This speed behavior was not completely evident when adding a pedestrian warning sign at an intersection or having perceptual lane narrowing to the stop line. Additionally, installing pedestrian warning signs in advance of the intersections rather at the intersections was associated with higher impact speeds at pedestrian crossings.

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