Young and older adult pedestrians' behavior when crossing a street in front of conventional and self-driving cars - Inria - Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique Access content directly
Journal Articles Accident Analysis & Prevention Year : 2021

Young and older adult pedestrians' behavior when crossing a street in front of conventional and self-driving cars

Abstract

Self-driving vehicles are gradually becoming a reality. But the consequences of introducing such automated vehicles (AVs) into current road traffic cannot be clearly foreseen yet, especially for pedestrian safety. The present study used virtual reality to examine the pedestrians' crossing behavior in front of AVs as compared to conventional cars (CVs). Thirty young (ages 21-39) and 30 older (ages 68-81) adults participated in a simulated street-crossing experiment allowing for a real walk across an experimental two-way street. Participants had to cross (or not cross) in mixed traffic conditions where highly perceptible AVs always stopped to let them cross, while CVs did not brake to give them the right of way. Available time gap (from 1 to 5 s), approach speed (30 or 50 km/h), and the lane in which the cars were approaching (near and/or far lane of the two-way street) were varied. The results revealed a significantly higher propensity to cross the street, at shorter gaps, when AVs gave way to participants in the near lane while CVs were approaching in the far lane, leading to more collisions in this condition than in the others. These risky decisions were observed for both young and older participants, but much more so for the older ones. The results also indicated hesitation to cross in front of an AV in both lanes of the two-way street, with later initiations and longer crossing times, especially for the young participants and when the AVs were approaching at a short distance and braked suddenly. This study highlights the potential risks for pedestrians of introducing AVs into current road traffic, complicating the street-crossing task for young and older people alike. Future studies should look further into the role of repeated practice and trust in AVs. The design of these vehicles must also be addressed. Some practical recommendations are provided.
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Dates and versions

hal-03368099 , version 1 (06-10-2021)

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Cite

Aurelie Dommes, Gaetan Merlhiot, Régis Lobjois, Nguyen-Thong Dang, Fabrice Vienne, et al.. Young and older adult pedestrians' behavior when crossing a street in front of conventional and self-driving cars. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 2021, 159, pp.1-13. ⟨10.1016/j.aap.2021.106256⟩. ⟨hal-03368099⟩
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