Publication Details

Measuring pedestrian level of stress in urban environments: A naturalistic walking pilot study [Poster]

Type: conferencePapers

Author(s): LaJeunesse, Seth; Ryus, Paul; Kumfer, Wesley; Kothuri, Sirisha; Nordback, Krista

Publisher: Transportation Research Board


Publication Date: Jan-2021

Address: Washington, DC

Abstract: Poster Session: Walking is the most basic and sustainable mode of transportation, and many jurisdictions desire increased walking rates to reduce congestion and emission levels and to improve public health. In the U.S., walking trips account for 10.5% of all trips undertaken. To increase this rate, additional research on what makes people feel more comfortable while walking is needed. Research on pedestrian quality of service (QOS) has sought to quantify the performance of the pedestrian facilities from a pedestrian’s perspective. However, the impact of pedestrian safety countermeasures on pedestrian QOS for roadway crossings is largely unknown.  The objective of this study is to discern pedestrian QOS based on physiological measurements of pedestrians performing normal walking activities in different traffic contexts. The naturalistic walking study described in this paper recruited 15 pedestrians and asked each to wear an instrumented wristband and GPS recorder on all walking trips for one week. Surprisingly, the findings from the study showed no correlation between participants’ stress levels and individual crossing locations. Instead, stress was associated with roadway conditions. Higher levels of stress were generally associated with walking in proximity to collector and arterial streets and in areas with industrial and mixed (e.g., offices, retail, residential) land uses. Stress levels were tempered in lower-density residential land uses, as well as in forest, park, and university campus environments. The outcomes from this study can inform how planners design urban environments that reduce pedestrian stress levels to promote walkability.

Conference name: Transportation Research Board 100th Annual Meeting