Measuring Unsafe Pedestrian Behavior Using Observational Data

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Florida has a severe problem with pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. Recent trends show that Florida’s pedestrian fatality rate is almost double the national average. Traditional safety programs rely on crash data to develop safety campaigns or countermeasures to increase safety. Since crash data are not readily available and a long time has to pass before meaningful data is collected, a “risk score” was developed to measure the behavior of road users at selected sites in Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties. Surveys were conducted in June-July 2012 in two of the highest pedestrian crash and fatality counties in Florida to collect data and establish baseline conditions. The surveys included opinion surveys of pedestrians and observations of pedestrians and bicyclists, and their interaction with drivers. The locations where the surveys were conducted were selected based on site characteristics including pedestrian treatments or features, crash history, and land use. The two surveys offered insight on the difference between what people know about the law or correct behavior, and what they actually do in reality. Results pinpoint the problems and aid in deciding the focus of safety campaigns and target audience. The risk score showed that the majority of sites exhibited unsafe behavior from pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers. The risk score has the potential to aid in measuring the effectiveness of a safety campaign launched by the Florida Department of Transportation focused on increasing the awareness on traffic laws. This way, appropriate countermeasures or funds can be selected for the higher ranking sites first.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

TRB 92nd Annual Meeting, Compendium of Papers, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., January 13–17, 2013.