(Charles LeBlanc/Flickr)

Texting while walking increases risk of getting hit by car: UBC study

Engineers found that distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining walking speed and gait

Distracted drivers are responsible for many collisions in B.C., but a new study is pointing the finger at the risk of distracted walking.

A new study out of UBC on Tuesday suggests people who walk and text at the same time walk more slowly and less steadily, increasing the risk of getting hit by a vehicle.

Engineers used automated video analysis to examine the movements and walking behaviour of pedestrians at a busy four-way intersection in Kamloops. Through three mounted cameras, they analyzed 357 pedestrians over two days.

“We found that more than a third of pedestrians were distracted by their cellphones – texting and reading or talking and listening,” said lead author Rushdi Alsaleh.

“Distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining their walking speed and gait and took longer to cross the road, increasing the potential for conflict with vehicles.”

The movements of the distracted pedestrians also differed, depending on how they were using their devices.

Those who were texting or reading took shorter steps without slowing their step frequency, while those who were talking on their phone took slower steps without changing the length of their strides.

The results can also help keep pedestrians safe when it comes to driverless cars, Alsaleh said.

An autonomous vehicle can be programmed to recognize distracted pedestrians from their walking patterns, he said, and appropriate evasive actions to avoid an accident.

“Our research is focused on explaining how accidents occur on roads by better modelling the behaviour of people and cars on the road,” said Tarek Sayed, a civil engineering professor at UBC.

“We hope that our methods can be used to calibrate pedestrian simulation programs more accurately, helping planners to build safer roads and engineers to design smarter autonomous vehicles.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourism Golden re-launches “Locals Lowdown” campaign

The campaign seeks to give a face and personality to Golden to encourage tourism.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Golden police seek Good Samaritan after house fire

An unidentified individual may have saved lives in the early-morning fire.

Snow expected to hit West Kootenay passes overnight on Thursday

Up to 15 cm of snow could fall on Highway 3 between Paulson summit to Kootenay Pass by Friday morning

2020 construction projects planned for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park

Parks Canada said they are continuing to improve Highway 1 over Rogers Pass

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

Most Read