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    Use of Animated Eyes to Signal Pedestrians to Watch Turning Vehicles

Many pedestrians are struck by turning vehicles and data shows that children are less likely to watch for turning vehicles at signalized crosswalks (MacGregor, Smiley, and Dunk, 1999). The LED pedestrian signal with animated eyes that look from side to side was evaluated at eight sites in three cities using carefully controlled experimental procedures. The number of conflicts per 50 pedestrians were observed at each of eight locations, before and after the treatment. The median number of conflicts decreased in the range of 59% to 94% (95% confidence interval). The results of the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney procedure across all eight sites was significant at the .001 confidence level. These data provide a systematic replication of the findings of Zegeer, Cynecki and Opiela (1984) which showed that modifying incandescent pedestrian signals to read “WALK WITH CARE” during the WALK interval reduced conflicts with turning vehicles at four test sites in three cities. These data taken together with the results of the present studies demonstrate that modifying the WALK indication to remind pedestrians to be more cautious can lead to significantly fewer conflicts between pedestrians and turning vehicles.

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Low Vision Blind Pedestrian Study

Research has shown that blind pedestrians with some vision can recognize the WALK indication 50% further away when it contained the animated ‘‘eyes’’ display. These finding take on considerable importance in light of the fact that approximately 80-85% of the legally blind population has some remaining vision. Blind pedestrians with no vision benefit because the pulsed LED signals provide information on the status of the pedestrian signal and can help keep them in the crosswalk if they have an optical receiver to decode the signal. Data have also shown that blind pedestrians with no vision are significantly less likely to veer into the intersection when they use this device.

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A Comparison of the Recognition Distance of Several Types of Pedestrian Signals with Low-Vision Pedestrians

By Van Houten, Ron, PhD;Blasch, Bruce, PhD;Malenfant, J.E. Louis, PhD;
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 443-448
Publication Date: July/August 2001

Study evaluating the ability of people with low vision to discriminate between WALK and DON’T WALK pedestrian signals in five formats: (1) an incandescent sign, (2) a white light-emitting diode (LED) sign, (3) a blue LED sing, (4) a white LED sign with an animated eye display, and (5) a blue LED with an animated eye display. The animated eye displays consisted of two blue or white eyes with eyeballs scanning let or right at the rate of one cycle per second. Eighteen adults with low vision participated in the study. Test stimuli were presented in randomized blocks of trials, and recognition distances were determined by having participants approach the test stimuli until they could identify them. Results indicated that there were no significant differences between the incandescent and LED signals without the animated eyes or between the blue and white LED signals. A significant contrast between the signals with the animated eyes display and signals without the display, as participants could identify the WALK signal 62 percent farther away when it contained the animated eyes display. The results show that the addition of an animated eyes display to the WALK sign significantly improves recognition distance for a large segment of persons with visual impairments.

This article or book was published by: VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (Web Site: )