Psychology professor, Elon College Fellow publish paper and present at national conference
Elon College Fellow Lindsay Swenson ’13 and Alan Scott, assistant professor of psychology, presented a paper at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, one of the major divisions of the National Research Council, in Washington D.C., Jan. 13-17, 2013.
The paper, titled “Effect of Countdown-Only Pedestrian Change Interval Displays on Signal Recognition by Pedestrians with Reduced Visual Acuity,” has also been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, and will appear later this year.
The work investigated the potential effects of a proposed visual pedestrian signals change on signal visibility and identification accuracy by pedestrians with varying levels of visual acuity, including acuities that by World Health Organization definitions represent no impairment, low vision, or legally blind status.
Specifically, the work highlights that a potential signalization change in which the flashing don’t walk interval would be signaled by the presence of the orange countdown numerals alone (as opposed to the current standard in which the countdown is presented concurrently with the flashing upraised hand symbol) results in significant negative effects on interval identification accuracy, confidence, and response time for those with moderate visual acuity impairment. Critically, the levels of acuity tested represent a sizable pedestrian population that regularly relies upon the visual information when making crossing decisions.
The paper was additionally authored by Billie Louise Bentzen and Janet Barlow, the principals of Accessible Design for the Blind, a research, education and advocacy group committed to improving the safety and accessibility of public spaces for blind or otherwise disabled pedestrians.