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Impacts of Countdown Timers on Pedestrian Behavior - Case Study in UAE

Mohsin Balwan 1, Janice Jaison 2, and Martin Fellendorf 1
1. Technical University of Graz, Graz, Austria
2. Surface Mobility Consultants, Dubai, UAE

Abstract—The purpose of the research is to investigate the impact of pedestrian countdown timers on pedestrian behavior and examine if it enhances their compliance and safety. A treatment and control methodology was conducted at a total of seven intersections in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The pedestrian perception was gauged using a user preference survey that was distributed at the study intersections and online. Pedestrians are seen to have an overall positive perception of countdown timers. Pedestrian behavior was assessed via video recording. Video data was collected for a fixed duration in the morning and mid-day during a weekday. Various parameters were studied to measure pedestrian compliance and safety namely- proportion of violations, pedestrian-vehicle conflicts, successful crossings and pedestrians who ran out of time. Statistical analysis was carried out to analyze if the pedestrian proportion in a particular performance measure varied in a statistically significant manner between the two cases (with countdown timers and without countdown timers). A significant reduction in pedestrian non-compliance and a significant increase in the number of successful pedestrian crossings were observed. Overall, results show that pedestrian countdown timers are efficient in enhancing pedestrian safety and in aiding them to make better-informed decisions while crossing. However, to fully benefit from countdown timers, factors such as time allotted for the green and red phase as well as its location need to be considered.

Index Terms—pedestrians, crossing behavior, countdown timer, walking speed, safety, successful crossing

Cite: Mohsin Balwan, Janice Jaison, and Martin Fellendorf, "Impacts of Countdown Timers on Pedestrian Behavior - Case Study in UAE," Journal of Traffic and Logistics Engineering, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 77-83, December 2017. doi: 10.18178/jtle.5.2.77-83
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