Pokemon gaming causes pedestrians to run a red light: An observational study of crossing behaviours at a signalised intersection in Taipei City

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Since the launch of the smartphone game “Pokemon Go” the worldwide craze has led to numerous traffic crashes and injuries resulting from falling or tripping. This paper investigates the effects of several smartphone distracting activities (gaming, talking, texting, Web surfing, and listening to music) on the street-crossing behaviours of pedestrians in Taipei City, Taiwan. A field study using video cameras was conducted to observe pedestrian crossing behaviours (e.g., crossing time, sudden movements, running a red light, and walking outside the crosswalk) at a selected signalised intersection. Data such as phone features, distracting activities, and personal attributes of the pedestrians were obtained in interviews conducted after pedestrians had completed crossing the street. In total, 1995 pedestrians engaging in various smartphone activities were observed. Results indicate that unsafe crossing behaviours were more prevalent among those playing “Pokemon Go”. Texting via instant-message apps appeared to be the second-most risk distracting activity. Results of the logistic models reveal that contributing factors to unsafe behaviours include being a student, phone screen of 5 in. or larger, and having an unrestricted 4G Internet data allowance. Two interaction terms (gaming × students, and gaming × unlimited 4G data allowance) in the models appear to be important determinants of unsafe crossing behaviours. The current research suggests that to prevent potential crashes and injuries, smartphone gaming while crossing the street should be prohibited.

LanguageEnglish
Pages380-388
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018

Fingerprint

Smartphones
pedestrian
Observational Studies
Crosswalks
Light
cause
Text Messaging
Students
Accidental Falls
Video cameras
Application programs
Wounds and Injuries
Logistics
Music
Taiwan
Running
Internet
Walking
music
video

Keywords

  • Crossing behaviour
  • Gaming
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Red-light violation
  • Smartphone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Since the launch of the smartphone game “Pokemon Go” the worldwide craze has led to numerous traffic crashes and injuries resulting from falling or tripping. This paper investigates the effects of several smartphone distracting activities (gaming, talking, texting, Web surfing, and listening to music) on the street-crossing behaviours of pedestrians in Taipei City, Taiwan. A field study using video cameras was conducted to observe pedestrian crossing behaviours (e.g., crossing time, sudden movements, running a red light, and walking outside the crosswalk) at a selected signalised intersection. Data such as phone features, distracting activities, and personal attributes of the pedestrians were obtained in interviews conducted after pedestrians had completed crossing the street. In total, 1995 pedestrians engaging in various smartphone activities were observed. Results indicate that unsafe crossing behaviours were more prevalent among those playing “Pokemon Go”. Texting via instant-message apps appeared to be the second-most risk distracting activity. Results of the logistic models reveal that contributing factors to unsafe behaviours include being a student, phone screen of 5 in. or larger, and having an unrestricted 4G Internet data allowance. Two interaction terms (gaming × students, and gaming × unlimited 4G data allowance) in the models appear to be important determinants of unsafe crossing behaviours. The current research suggests that to prevent potential crashes and injuries, smartphone gaming while crossing the street should be prohibited.",
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