Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #385
Increasing the Safety of Pedestrians with Behavioral Interventions
Monday, May 25, 2015
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
204A (CC)
Area: CSE/OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Miles K. Bennett (Western Michigan University)

Increasing motorist yielding right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks reduces the number of collisions between motorists and pedestrians. One very cost effectively technology, which has recently been demonstrated to increase the safety of pedestrians, is the use of a gateway configuration of the in-street yield to pedestrian sign. In the first series of three studies supported by Michigan Department of Transportation examined variables that influenced the efficacy of this sign and determined how to use this treatment most effectively. These studies also examined the effectiveness of various configurations of this treatment that could increase the survival of the treatment in the roadway. In a fourth study supported by the Federal Highway Administration we examined variables related to the efficacy of the countdown pedestrian signal to determine ways to improve their effectiveness. This study examined whether pedestrians could accurately discriminate how much time they needed to cross roadways of various widths, which change interval signal was most clearly understood by pedestrians, and pedestrians with low vision uses countdown pedestrian signals. These studies will inform the use of these technologies across the country.


The Effects of the Symbol Sign and the Use of City Posts on the Efficacy of a Gateway Configuration of the In-Street Sign

MILES K. BENNETT (Western Michigan University)

This study examined whether sign message contributed to the effectiveness of the gateway configuration of the in-street sign at two sites using a reversal design. The percentage of driver yielding right-of-way to pedestrians was consistently low at both sites during baseline conditions. The installation of the gateway configuration increased the yielding to very high levels. The use of the gateway treatment with blank signs. signs that only contained the background reflective yellow green material produced only half as much yielding as the treatment with the sign message present. These data show that the results could not be explained entirely by the perceived narrowing of the road. This study also examined whether replacing the sign element most likely to be struck by vehicles with a robust city post which can withstand many more high speed hits could increase yielding. The results showed that this configuration produced results that were somewhat inferior to that produced by the use of in-street signs in each position.


A Comparison of the Efficacy of a Wide and Narrow Configuration of the In-Street Sign on Driver Yielding to Pedestrians

JONATHAN HOCHMUTH (Western Michigan University)

This study examined whether the width of the gateway configuration of the in-street sign influenced the efficacy of the treatment. Data were collected at there sites with a narrow and a wider gateway configuration. The gateway treatment was more effective in the narrow configuration then the wide configuration at two of the three sites and made little difference at the third site. Contextual variables appeared to be related to whether the narrow or the wide configuration were more effective. These data showed that perceived narrowing was a variable influencing the efficacy of this treatment. These data were interpreted in terms of behavioral principles.


A Comparison of Edge Signs Alone, Lane Lines Alone and a Full Gateway Treatment on Driver Yielding Right-of-Way to Pedestrians

JONATHAN HOCHMUTH (Western Michigan University)

This study compared the use of edge lane in-street signs alone, lane line use of in-street signs alone and the full gateway (edge lane and lane line signs used together on driver yielding behavior to pedestrians. The edge line alone and lane line alone configurations produced marginal increases over baseline levels of yielding behavior while the full gateway configuration lead to a marked increase in yielding behavior at this site. These data were explained using behavioral principles.

Countdown Pedestrian Signals Legibility and Comprehension without Flashing Hand
GREGORY DELAERE (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Van Houten, LaPlante, & Gustefson (2012)’s previous research on the addition of a Countdown Pedestrian Signal (CPS) to the Flashing Don’t Walk (FDW) display has shown a reduction in pedestrian crashes. Due to the proposed change in meaning to the CPS with a FDW display, the present study attempted to systematically replicate the findings of Singer and Lerner (2005), who investigated the comprehension of the CPS alone display and the CPS with the FDW display and found the comprehension of the CPS alone more closely matched the proposed change in meaning. Additionally, this study investigated the comprehension of a CPS with a WALK signal. Following the comprehension study, another study was conducted to measure the judgment abilities of pedestrians. This study asked additional subjects to cross a simulated crosswalk at their normal walking speed so that they finished their crossing when the CPS reached zero. The results are similar to the results of Singer and Lerner, with the CPS with the WALK signal showing even greater comprehension. Results also indicated pedestrians are able to reliably judge the amount of time needed to cross multiple crosswalk lengths, or will adjust their walking speed accordingly. Future research should investigate the removal of the FDW from the CPS’s effect on low vision pedestrians as well as replicate the field study conducted by Singer and Lerner with longer crosswalks.



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