See You on the Other Side: A Crosswalk Navigation System with Multimodal Alert System for Distracted and Visually Impaired Crosswalk Users

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Distracted and visually impaired crosswalk users are at increased injury and death risk. A system that redirects the attention of distracted crosswalk users and helps both distracted and visually-impaired crosswalk users safely navigate crosswalks could mitigate that risk. We tested the effectiveness of four feedback systems on crosswalk navigation: no feedback (baseline), auditory (whistle), vibrotactile, and multimodal (auditory and vibrotactile). Twelve participants were recruited and blindfolded to cross an in-lab mock crosswalk. Analysis showed that multimodal auditory and vibrotactile feedback significantly increased the success rate of navigating through a crosswalk compared to the baseline. Among the participants, 83.3% (10 participants) preferred vibrotactile feedback, and 75% (9 participants) found vibrotactile feedback to be most intuitive. These findings can inform the development of infrastructure-embedded alert systems that promote the safety of distracted crosswalk users.