Why People Cross Where They Do: The Role of the Street Environment

(Center Identification Number: 473-06) 

This paper models the role of the street environment in how people cross roads in urban settings. Respondents were placed in real traffic conditions at the curbside of street blocks in the Tampa Bay area for a three-minute observation of the street environment. Without crossing the blocks, each respondent stated his crossing preference at each of six blocks. The origin and destination of each crossing were hypothetically set and varied across the blocks. So were the options available: two options for crossing at an intersection and up to four options for crossing at mid-block locations. Within the framework of discrete-choice models, the stated preferences are explained with the street environment, including traffic conditions, roadway characteristics, and signal-control characteristics. All three components of the street environment are considered: mid-block locations, intersections, and the roadside environment. The paper describes survey design and data collection efforts; estimates a nested logit model of pedestrian street-crossing behavior; and discusses its implications to researchers and practitioners. Download the final report.  Reserach conducted by Xuehao Chu, Ph.D., Martin Guttenplan, and Michael R. Baltes. For more information, contact Xuehao Chu, Ph.D. at xchu@cutr.usf.edu.

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