Improving the safety and mobility of vulnerable road users through ITS applications: Deliverable D5.3 Evaluation Results
The VRUITS project, which is sponsored by the European Commission DG MOVE, places the Vulnerable Road User (VRU) in the center, assesses the impact of current and upcoming ITS applications on the safety and mobility of VRUs, identifies how the usability and efficiency of ITS applications can be improved, and recommends which actions have to be taken at a policy level to improve ITS safety and mobility. By applying a multi-disciplinary approach, the VRUITS project aims at developing tools to evaluate, field-test and subsequently improve ITS for vulnerable road users.
Intelligent Pedestrian Detectors (IPDs) were installed on the selected crossing, which automatically detect pedestrians on the sidewalk next to the crossing. Based on their trajectories, IPDs decide whether pedestrians are waiting to cross the intersection, and request green light to the Traffic Light Controller (TLC) if there are a certain number of persons waiting. Then the TLC decides whether to give priority to pedestrians over vehicles and extend their green phase, based on the state of the traffic lights.
A total of four IPDs were installed in this crossing using the existing infrastructure. The information is centralized by an Interface Box, which acts as a control module gathering all the data computed by the IPDs and interacts with the Traffic Controller. Also, two lights as part of an Illumination on demand module were added to the trial to illuminate the crossing automatically when pedestrians are detected during night hours, thus enhancing visibility and alerting drivers of the presence of pedestrians in the crossing.
Measurements were performed from May 4 – 10, 2015 without the system active and from April 27– May 3, 2015 with the system active. Data were logged by the IPDs and the TLC. IPDs were set to record videos internally from the intersection’s cameras showing the counts and trajectories. Waiting times of each pedestrian, from the moment they stopped in the waiting area until they left to cross the road was determined from the video. The data were sent periodically to the modem inside the TLC for remote transmission and analysis.
Safety and mobility impacts were analyzed in terms of waiting times, illegal crossings and crowd gathering at the crossing, with and without actuating the traffic lights. In addition, interviews were held with the crosswalk users. In total 43 users were interviewed (22 prior to the tests and 21 after the tests).
- The percent of illegal crossings were reduced by 5 percent
- There was a reduction in pedestrian wait time of about 2 seconds
- Congestion diminished by 23 percent when the system was operating, thus reducing the risks implied by having crowds gathered frequently in an intersection with heavy traffic
- The interviews showed that there were no significant differences in the subjective feeling of safety with and without the system.
- In both periods, more than 80 percent (33 participants) of the respondents considered that the waiting time for the pedestrians was unsuitable. The system reduced the waiting time, but the users did not perceive that change.