Understanding complex traffic road scenes: The case of child-pedestrians’ hazard perception

Anat Meir, Tal Oron-Gilad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Introduction: Understanding the shortcomings of child-pedestrians in evaluating traffic situations may contribute to producing intervention techniques that may increase their awareness to potential hazards as well as inform and inspire designers of autonomous vehicle and infrastructure systems to deal with the complications of crossing pedestrians. Method: The present work examined pedestrians’ hazard-perception (HP) skills in complex traffic scenes. Two experiments explored how pedestrians’ HP abilities vary with age and experience. In the first, adults and youngsters (7–13-year-olds) were presented with pairs of photographs displaying traffic situations and instructed to compare between the hazard levels of the two. Findings revealed a marked trend where experienced-adults tended to rate photographs depicting field of view partially obscured by parked vehicles as more hazardous. Moreover, adults tended to rate photographs depicting vehicles closer to the crossing site as more hazardous. Lastly, adults tended to rate photographs depicting complex configurations like traffic circles, as more hazardous than T-junctions. Results: Findings suggested that youngsters may be highly influenced by cueing. Next, pedestrians’ HP was tested using a crossing decision task. Participants observed traffic scenes presented in a dynamic simulated environment of an urban road from a pedestrian's perspective and pressed a response button whenever they assumed it was safe to cross. Compared to experienced-adults and 7–8-year-olds, 9–13-year-olds presented a less decisive performance. Compared to previous findings regarding simpler road crossing configurations, most participants, regardless of age, related more to the approaching vehicles and presence of a pedestrian crossing while refraining from addressing the road configuration. Implications for road-safety are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-126
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Safety Research
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Child-pedestrians
  • Hazard Perception
  • Paired comparison
  • Road crossing
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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