Yielding Rates Increase at Crosswalks with “SeeMe”

A crosswalk sign at dusk.

A crosswalk sign at dusk. Photo: Vivill Vinsrygg

A recent study shows that the pedestrian crosswalk warning system “SeeMe” increases the yielding rate on average by 14 per cent.

“SeeMe” is a warning system with automatic pedestrian detection that is mounted on crosswalk signs. Amber flashing lights are activated when pedestrians are approaching or crossing the crosswalk. The aim is to attract motorists’ attention, to improve yielding behavior and to reduce conflicts.

A before-after study with a matched control group has been conducted in the Norwegian municipality of Trondheim by researchers at TØI.

Video observations were made at eight crosswalks (four of which were equipped with SeeMe in the after period) of 1825 pedestrian-motorist interactions. Yielding rates increased by a statistically significant 14% when all crosswalks are taken together.

The results are however inconsistent between crosswalks. Yielding rates increased by 39% at two of the crosswalks (statistically significant) and decreased by 4% at the other two crosswalks (not statistically significant).

The number of crosswalks included in the study is however too small to generalize these differences. The results do not indicate that SeeMe has negatively affected pedestrian behavior or increased the number of conflicts. It is concluded that SeeMe may be effective in increasing motorist yielding rates at crosswalks with similar characteristics – two lane roads in residential areas with moderate motor vehicle volumes and speed limits of 50 kph or below – and that high initial yielding rates and high rates of false alarms may limit its effectiveness.

Full report (in Norwegian and with a English summary):
Evaluation of a pedestrian-activated warning system at crosswalks: “SeeMe”.
TØI report 1496/2016
Authors: Alena Høye, Aliaksei Laureshyn, Truls Vaa

Alena Høye Contact:
Alena Høye, Chief Research Officer
TØI, Norway
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