Analysis of the occurrence and severity of vehicle-pedestrian conflicts in marked and unmarked crosswalks through naturalistic driving study

Abbas Sheykhfard, Farshidreza Haghighi*, Eleonora Papadimitriou, Pieter Van Gelder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although many studies have been conducted on the safety of pedestrian crossings, few researches have been focused on drivers' behavior in unmarked crosswalk and marked crosswalk areas. Considering that statistics of pedestrian accidents are not the same in the two types of crossing area, based on the last report of the World Health Organization, it is very critical to evaluate driver yielding behavior to determine the differences in the actions of drivers when encountering pedestrians in the two areas. Methods: This study was conducted based on surrogate measures of safety (SMoS) collected through a Naturalistic Driving Study on 52 participants in Iran. The study was carried out from April 2017 to April 2018 using the installation of cameras in the private vehicle of the participants. The analysis of the recorded films showed that 956 conflicts have occurred in unmarked crosswalks and 392 conflicts in marked crosswalks, respectively. Results: A model was developed for driver yielding behavior using binary logistic regression, and showed that yielding rates in unmarked crosswalsk were about fifty percent of the yielding rates in marked crosswalks. Based on the model, it is indicated that the aggressive behavior of pedestrians during the crossing, such as running, zigzag and diagonal crossing, as well as the late detection of pedestrians by drivers resulting from high-speed driving in the unmarked crossing areas, will reduce the yielding behavior rate. Also, using the Swedish traffic conflicts technique, the severity of the conflicts was classified into four general categories: encounter, potential, slight, and serious conflict, through 30 different levels on the basis of conflicting speed and time to the accident. The results showed that pedestrians behavior during conflicts of the group “encounter” and drivers’ behavior during conflicts of the groups of “potential”, “slight” and “serious”, were the principal factors in preventing collision through an evasive maneuver. The results showed that increasing the level of conflict severity, which indicates an increase of the conflicting speed and a decrease of the time remaining to point of a possible collision with pedestrian, causes drivers to yield a harsh-maneuver to prevent collision. Soft-maneuvers such as deceleration and acceleration, as well as harsh-maneuvers such as changing the lane/stop during conflicts were most driver yielding behavior during conflict groups of slight and serious. According to the results of the analysis, the behavior of drivers in unmarked crossing area, is better than in the marked crossing area, leading to safer crossings for pedestrians. Conclusions: This study suggests that the significant differences in driver yielding behavior in the two areas is due to the late detection of pedestrians by drivers and also the less proper action by them in unmarked crosswalk areas. Thus, the probability of accidents in Unmarked Crossing areas is higher than in marked crossing areas. Consequently, the design of improved advanced driver assistance systems to identify the risk of pedestrian accident may improve the driver yielding behavior and thus increase the safety of pedestrians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-192
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Driver yielding behavior
  • Naturalistic driving study
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Traffic conflict


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