Meocci, M., Terrosi, A., Paliotto, A., Arrighi, R. & Petrizzo, I.

Drivers’ Performance Assessment Approaching Pedestrian Crossings Through the Analysis of the Speed and Perceptive Data Recorded During On-field Tests

Heliyon (in press)

Pedestrian fatalities in road accidents represent one of the biggest causes of death in the world despite the great efforts that have been made to decrease the involvement of vulnerable road users in road accidents. Literature analysis revealed the presence of several studies aimed at investigating the phenomenon and proposing strategies to improve pedestrian safety, but this is still not enough to considerably reduce the number of pedestrians killed on the road. In this context, with the aim to take a step forward in the topic, this paper describes a naturalistic driving assessment carried out in Firenze aimed at evaluating the effect of different pedestrian crossing configurations on the drivers’ behavior, especially concerning the reduction of the speeding phenomenon approaching a pedestrian crossing. The experiment was conducted on a section of an urban collector road within the Firenze suburban area. Crucially, over the past few years, different traffic calming interventions have been implemented along this street. Among the different traffic calming countermeasures, both the presence of a traffic light and trapezoidal deflection have been considered to assess their effect on drivers’ behavior, also with reference to specific aspects related to the drivers’ perception. During the experiment, thirty-six users drove their own vehicles along the street, encountering different pedestrian crossing configurations. During the driving speed, deceleration and ocular fixation were recorded. This study shows the difference in drivers’ behavior in response to different traffic calming countermeasures. It demonstrates also that the raised pedestrian crossing caused a significant effect on reducing the speed approaching a pedestrian crossing. Moreover, it is observed that, when perceptive countermeasures are present, the drivers’ behavior changes only if the pedestrian crossing configuration is perceived in foveal vision; suggesting that the correct identification of the configuration is crucial to implement a congruent and safe driving behavior.