Close this search box.


Assessing the effect of pedestrians’ use of cell phones on their walking behavior: A study based on automated video analysis

The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of cell phone use while walking at urban crosswalks. The effects of distraction type, talking/listening or texting/reading, on pedestrian-vehicle interactions were examined. Pedestrian tracking was used to analyze trajectories and speed profiles. This was performed using video footage from a system that automatically detects, tracks, and classifies road users in traffic scenes.

The study site was a busy four-leg intersection located in British Columbia, Canada. Video footage was collected in daylight on April 4th and 5th, 2016. A total of 357 pedestrian trajectories were captured. There were 136 trajectories of distracted pedestrians and 221 non-distracted pedestrians. Most (86%) pedestrians were young adults and 58% were male. Nearly 38% of pedestrians performed a distraction activity while crossing the street. Texting/reading was the most common distraction (25%) followed by talking/listening (11.5%).

When compared to non-distracted participants, participants who were texting/reading had a statistically significant slower average walking speed and shorter average step length. Pedestrians talking/listening had a statistically significant slower average walking speed compared with non-distracted participants. Further, distracted pedestrians involved in interactions with approaching vehicles reduced and controlled their walking speeds by adjusting their step frequency.


Alsaleh, R., Sayed, T., & Zaki, M. H. (2018). Assessing the Effect of Pedestrians’ Use of Cell Phones on Their Walking Behavior: A Study Based on Automated Video Analysis. Transportation research record, 2672(35), 46-57.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Explore More DIAD Research & Technology Posts


The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of mobile-based infotainment systems on driving performance. The study was comprised of two experiments, one...


The purpose of this study was to determine if in-ground Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) embedded into pathways are an effective solution in attracting the attention...


The objective of this research was to review current scientific evidence concerning the effectiveness of existing and emerging distracted driving countermeasures. A literature search was...

TIRF’s research & educational tools support the work of communities across Canada.

Your donations & our work enable them to spend less time looking for answers & more time developing & implementing road safety strategies.