The Effect of Novel External Communication Display on Pedestrian Judgements of Acceleration

dc.contributor.authorRadlbeck, Joshua Thomasen
dc.contributor.committeechairKlauer, Charlieen
dc.contributor.committeememberMcLaughlin, Shane B.en
dc.contributor.committeememberPatrick, Rafaelen
dc.contributor.departmentIndustrial and Systems Engineeringen
dc.description.abstractPedestrian fatalities are on the rise in the United States, and this trend shows no signs of reversing. One contributing factor to these incidents is pedestrians' difficulty in accurately assessing traffic conditions and vehicle actions, leading to potentially fatal collisions. One promising solution could be the use of additional visual cues through external vehicle lighting on the front of vehicles to aid pedestrians in making safer decisions. This research explored this possibility through two studies that examined an LED display mounted on the grill of a study vehicle. The display changed color to communicate whether the vehicle was accelerating or decelerating (the display turned white if the vehicle was accelerating, and amber if the vehicle was decelerating). The first study assessed how well participants could judge whether the vehicle was accelerating or decelerating when the display was active versus inactive, and whether a verbal explanation of the display's function improved their understanding. The second study not only revisited judgement accuracy, but also examined its influence on participants' crossing intentions. Additionally, this study evaluated if repeated exposure to the display in a different traffic scenario (maneuvering a left turn at a stop sign controlled intersection) enhanced understanding as well as verbal explanations, which are less feasible in real world traffic situations. Findings from these studies indicated that a clear verbal explanation of the display significantly enhanced participants' ability to discern vehicle acceleration and deceleration, but exposure to the display in other traffic scenarios provided the same benefit. Study 2 did not observe significant changes in the safety buffer (i.e. the amount of time between when participants decide to cross, and when there would be a conflict with the vehicle if they did cross), but the average number of safe crossing decisions versus unsafe was improved, though these results were inconsistent across participants. These findings suggest potential for enhancing pedestrian safety by providing pedestrians with additional information through external vehicle lighting displays. Future research should focus on optimal implementations strategies for such displays and investigate any possible unintended consequences of deploying this technology on public roads.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralMore pedestrians are dying on roadways in the United States every year, and it does not look like it's going to get better soon. One reason for these incidents is that people often have trouble figuring out what cars around them are doing, which can lead to deadly crashes. One way to help people understand what cars are doing is to add a lighting display to the fronts of cars. These lights could give pedestrians more information to make safer choices. This idea was tested in two studies that looked at adding lights to the front of a car. These lights turned white when the car was speeding up, and amber when the car was slowing down. The first study checked if people could correctly figure out if a car was speeding up or slowing down when the lights were on or off, and if telling them what the colors of the lights meant helped them understand better. The second study looked at how well people could tell whether the car was speeding up or slowing down as well, but also looked at how the lights changed the timing of when they decided to cross the street. It also looked at whether seeing the lights in a different situation, like turning left at a stop sign, helped people understand what the vehicle was doing as good as when someone explained it to them, which is not always possible in real life. The study showed that telling people what the colors of the lights mean did help people figure out if a car was speeding up or slowing down, and just seeing the lights in different road situations helped as well. The second study did not find any changes in how much time people left when deciding it was safe to cross, but it did show that some people made safer choices more often, even though this was not the same for everyone. These results show that adding these types of lights to cars might make roads safer for pedestrians. Future studies should look into the best way to use these types of lights and think about any problems that might occur if these lights are used on public roads.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectExternal communicationen
dc.subjectpedestrian safetyen
dc.subjectpedestrian perceptionen
dc.titleThe Effect of Novel External Communication Display on Pedestrian Judgements of Accelerationen
dc.typeThesisen and Systems Engineeringen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Scienceen


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