Format of Original
Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
The increasing number of hybrid and quiet internal combustion engine vehicles may impact the travel abilities of pedestrians who are blind. Pedestrians who rely on auditory cues for structuring their travel may face challenges in making crossing decisions in the presence of quiet vehicles. This article describes results of initial studies looking at the crossing decisions of pedestrians who are blind at an uncontrolled crossing (no traffic control) and a light controlled intersection. The presence of hybrid vehicles was a factor in each situation. At the uncontrolled crossing, Toyota hybrids were most difficult to detect but crossing decisions were made more often in small gaps ended by a Honda hybrid. These effects were seen only at speed under 20 mph. At the light controlled intersection, parallel surges of traffic were most difficult to detect when made up only of a Ford Escape hybrid. Results suggest that more controlled studies of vehicle characteristics impacting crossing decisions of pedestrians who are blind are warranted.