Factors Influencing the Perception of Safety at Intersections

19 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 26, 2014


It can be challenging to understand the key factors that guide pedestrians’ street-design preferences. Visual surveys offer one tool to understand the public’s perceptions of place. In what is one of the first visual preference surveys using Google Street View, adult students viewed a series of paired slides of images of intersections on the Ohio State University campus. Participants were asked to choose which image from the pair they preferred based on which intersection they would feel safest crossing. This research demonstrates the extent to which certain factors such as pavement markings, crossing aids, and other features are preferred, using discrete choice models. The models reveal that a high number of lanes and vehicular traffic density decrease the probability of being chosen. Crosswalk markings, curb extensions, stop signs, and pedestrian crossing signs are positively associated with respondents’ preferences. We conclude that this method is effective in capturing information about intersection preferences. The survey methodology and analysis techniques introduced in this study can help city planners design streets that are preferred by pedestrians.

Keywords: intersection, safety, perception, visual survey, transportation planning

JEL Classification: O20, O21,R40

Suggested Citation

Evans-Cowley, Jennifer S. and Akar, Gulsah and Kubinski, Brittany, Factors Influencing the Perception of Safety at Intersections (October 26, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2515133 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2515133

Jennifer S. Evans-Cowley (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )


Gulsah Akar

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Brittany Kubinski

AHBL ( email )

2215 North 30th Street
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98403-3350
United States

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