Pedestrian Behavior at Signalized Intersection Crosswalks: Observational Study of Factors Associated with Distracted Walking, Pedestrian Violations, and Walking Speed

Brendan J. Russo, Emmanuel James, Cristopher Y. Aguilar, Edward J Smaglik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


In the past two decades, cell phone and smartphone use in the United States has increased substantially. Although mobile phones provide a convenient way for people to communicate, the distraction caused by the use of these devices has led to unintended traffic safety and operational consequences. Although it is well recognized that distracted driving is extremely dangerous for all road users (including pedestrians), the potential impacts of distracted walking have not been as comprehensively studied. Although practitioners should design facilities with the safety, efficiency, and comfort of pedestrians in mind, it is still important to investigate certain pedestrian behaviors at existing facilities to minimize the risk of pedestrian–vehicle crashes, and to reduce behaviors that may unnecessarily increase delay at signalized intersections. To gain new insights into factors associated with distracted walking, pedestrian violations, and walking speed, 3,038 pedestrians were observed across four signalized intersections in New York and Arizona using high-definition video cameras. The video data were reduced and summarized, and an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model was estimated to analyze factors affecting walking speeds. In addition, binary logit models were estimated to analyze both pedestrian distraction and pedestrian violations. Ultimately, several site- and pedestrian-specific variables were found to be significantly associated with pedestrian distraction, violation behavior, and walking speeds. The results provide important information for researchers, practitioners, and legislators, and may be useful in planning strategies to reduce or mitigate the impacts of pedestrian behavior that may be considered unsafe or potentially inefficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTransportation Research Record
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 1 2018


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this