Evaluating pedestrian and cyclist behaviour at a level crossing
The article gives an overview about the results of the use of a newly developed measurement technique in order to analyse the behaviour of road users at level crossings. For the test of the measurement technique a before/after design was chosen in order to evaluate the effects of a speed bump on the behaviour of road users and on safety at level crossings. The measurement technique combines the use of (1) an infrared camera and (2) conventional video recording. The use of an infrared camera allows the registration of variables such as speed, position, distance and acceleration independent of lighting conditions. A conventional camera includes recording of road users' head movements on the basis of which one can conclude where their attention is directed. Besides the analysis of changes in motorists' behaviour due to installation of a speed bump, data on the behaviour of vulnerable road users was also collected. The article concentrates especially on these results. It shows different forms of misconduct amongst the vulnerable road users that stems from different sources of error and could potentially lead to accidents. Crossings against red were observed as well as a negative effect of group size on the frequency of looking to the left and/or right. Generally vulnerable road users were crossing the railway mostly alone followed by crossing in pairs. Bigger groups were also observed but were more an exception like school classes or groups of recreational cyclists. The gaze behaviour of the vulnerable road users to the left and right hardly changed over the time and about two thirds of the pedestrians and cyclists were looking in at least one direction before crossing the railway. During the period without the speed bump eleven pedestrians and five cyclists were crossing the rail road while the red light was activated (none within the period where the speed bump was implemented - which might be due to the speed bump itself but cannot be ascribe to it with certainty). It can be concluded that the presented measurement technique could be suitable to be included in evaluations of the behaviour of vulnerable road users to achieve a more comprehensive format, which includes night time observations, observation of vulnerable road user behaviour and estimation of the effect of a safety measure.