Even though most pedestrians struck by vehicles are mid-block jaywalking, the vast majority of research only measures pedestrian speeds within controlled environments such as sidewalks or crosswalks.
Picking up on this serious disparity, KEI engineers conducted a naturalistic observational study where they captured and analyzed the movements of 304 jaywalking pedestrians. Overall, the average speed of pedestrians in their study was 20% higher than that noted in other research. KEI researchers also observed that pedestrians tended to travel faster the smaller the gap in traffic was for them to cross through.
The findings indicate that there may be a sense of urgency for jaywalking pedestrians due to approaching vehicles. The speed at which a pedestrian crosses a roadway is a behaviour influenced by environmental factors such as the proximity and lane position of the approaching primary hazard vehicle. The researchers used their findings to develop useful mathematical models that incorporate these factors.
“The models we derived from this research will allow reconstructionists to be more accurate in their analyses of pedestrian collisions,” said Shady Attalla, co-author of the paper. “This research represents a step forward in the industry’s knowledge base about pedestrian jaywalking behaviour.”
International reconstructionists are already picking up on the importance of the work; the authors have already received requests for their models from as far away as Asia, where jaywalking is a major problem in some countries.
The paper was published by SAE; other reconstructionists may purchase it at: http://papers.sae.org/2013-01-0772.