A. Wyman, H. Breuer, D.S. Hurwitz
Washington County, Oregon, United States, maintains multiple perpendicular pedestrian crossings at signalized intersections served by two pushbuttons located on a single pushbutton pole. County engineers have observed that pedestrians frequently push both pushbuttons, regardless of the crosswalk they intend to use. This behavior incurs unnecessary delay for all intersection users—particularly at locations operating split phases and where the pedestrian phase controls the time allocated to the concurrent vehicular phase. To address this challenge, the exploratory study presented herein investigates how pedestrians search for information at a signalized intersection via a field experiment in which participants crossed an intersection wearing a mobile eye tracker. Usable eye tracking data for seven participants was collected. The data suggests that participants understood how to associate pushbuttons with corresponding crosswalks and used pedestrian infrastructure at the study location to do so. However, additional information could help participants identify which crosswalks are next to be served and make more efficient crossing decisions. Eye tracking data suggests that participants began observing vehicle traffic earlier and more consistently than other infrastructure elements on their approach to the pushbutton pole. Pushbuttons and pushbutton signage were the last infrastructure elements observed, with most observations occurring less than three seconds to button push. Of traffic signals and traffic, pushbuttons and pushbutton signage, and pedestrian signals, participants fixated on traffic signals and traffic approximately 45% of the time and on pushbuttons and pushbutton signage approximately 51% of the time.
Keywords: pedestrian; intersection; pushbutton; operations; human factors; signals