June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Both Street Width and Direction of Traffic Flow Contribute to Making Streets Difficult to Cross for Pedestrians
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shirin E Hassan
    School of Optometry, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Shirin Hassan None
  • Footnotes
    Support  NIH/NEI Grants: R01 EY022147 and P30 EY019008
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 2452 – F0029. doi:
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      Shirin E Hassan; Both Street Width and Direction of Traffic Flow Contribute to Making Streets Difficult to Cross for Pedestrians. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):2452 – F0029.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : My lab has previously shown that young and older pedestrians alike find a two-way street more difficult to cross than either a one lane, one-way street or a roundabout. However, what makes the two-way street more difficult to cross? Is it the greater street width and/or the opposing directions of traffic flow? This study aimed to determine the individual effects of street width and traffic direction on the safety of crossing decisions.

Methods : 30 young, 13 young-old and 19 older-old subjects with normal vision made crossing decisions about whether or not they thought it was safe to cross at three different types of streets; a one lane, one-way street (one-way), a two-way street and a street that had two lanes of one-way traffic. Crossing decisions at each street type were made for a range of vehicular gap times. The percentage of unsafe decisions was calculated for each subject at each street by computing the number of times a subject deemed it was safe to cross when the measured gap time at a particular street was shorter than the subject’s measured crossing time at that street. A linear mixed model with repeated measures for subject was used to determine if the percentage of unsafe decisions changed as a function of age and type of street.

Results : We found that all age groups made significantly more unsafe decisions at the wider street of two lanes of one-way traffic compared to the one-way street (p<0.0001). When assessing the effect of traffic direction, performance varied as a function of age. Specifically, young subjects made significantly more unsafe decisions at the two-way street compared to the two lanes of one-way traffic (p<0.0001). While the young-old subjects made a similar number of unsafe decisions at the two lanes of one-way compared to the two-way street (p=0.41), the older-old subjects made significantly more unsafe decisions at the two lanes of one-way traffic compared to the two-way street (p<0.0001). All subjects, irrespective of age, made significantly more unsafe decisions at the two-way street compared to the one-way street (p<0.0001).

Conclusions : Our data suggests that street width and the direction of traffic flow both increase the level of difficulty of making a safe crossing decision. It appears that with increasing age, pedestrians have more difficulty simultaneously processing information from two lanes compared to just one lane at a time.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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