A Framework for Improved Safety and Accessibility through Pedestrian Guidance and Navigation
Bauer, Denise H.
Wall, Richard W.
Frazier, Tim G.
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With the changes in America's demographics comes a need to provide improved accommodation of individuals with reduced capabilities. To date, our research has focused upon assistive pedestrian signal technologies for pedestrians with impaired vision. Such individuals must learn to cross complex intersections safely using a range of sensory inputs, including auditory cues from traffic surge and beaconing systems. Unfortunately, reduced vehicle noise, particularly for hybrid or electric vehicles, combined with increases in background sound levels, reduces the effectiveness of this approach. Furthermore, once the signal changes and the pedestrian starts to cross, there is very little communication with the pedestrian other than the possibility of active beaconing. The traffic controller has no way of knowing how far pedestrians have progressed and whether they are still in the crosswalk. This project is proposing the integration of commercial technologies commonly found in smartphones and other mobile electronics into a framework that will provide for pedestrian tracking and navigation. Such capability would allow the pedestrian signal device to take corrective action, such as providing navigational corrections or extending the walk signal (in extreme circumstances). With a "technology-neutral" framework (using a device other than a smartphone), this pedestrian support can be expanded to other avenues, such as railway crossings, bus terminals, and airports.
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