AbstractCrashes involving pedestrians are most likely to occur when the pedestrian is crossing the road. In the particular context of road traffic systems in China, with frequent on-crosswalk cycling and pedestrian green signals overlapping with vehicle right- and left-turn green signals, walking on a signalized intersection crosswalk seems much more challenging. As such, pedestrians need to be more cautious and perform properly. The present study designed tasks for safe crossing at this form of intersection and, using video cameras, explored the performance of pedestrians. Taking smartphones as source of distraction, comparisons were made between distracted and nondistracted pedestrians. Of the phone use rate of 20.3% while crossing, 13.4% were visual-manual interactions, 3.5% were hand-free phones, and 3.4% were hand-held phones. For both genders, pedestrians who crossed while visually-manually interacting with a mobile or talking/listening on a mobile were less likely to glance before initiating crossing, less likely to look at traffic while crossing, less likely to avoid on-crosswalk opposite pedestrians and bicycles, and less likely to make eye contact with right/left-turning drivers. Surprisingly, female pedestrians who were texting took longer to react to the pedestrian green signal than males who were texting. Findings of this study suggest that distraction while crossing roads exposes pedestrians to a high risk of accident. Hence, to improve pedestrian safety, the authors advise relevant actions such as unsafe-crossing warning technologies; pedestrian, bicyclist, and driver education; and law enforcement. Detailed advice is found in the summary section at the end of the paper.

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