Deceleration parameters as implicit communication signals for pedestrians’ crossing decisions and estimations of automated vehicle behaviour

Kai Tian, Athanasios Tzigieras, Chongfeng Wei, Yee Mun Lee, Christopher Holmes, Matteo Leonetti, Natasha Merat, Richard Romano, Gustav Markkula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Society greatly expects the widespread deployment of automated vehicles (AVs). However, the absence of a driver role results in unresolved communication issues between pedestrians and AVs. Research has shown the crucial role of implicit communication signals in this context. Nonetheless, it remains unclear how pedestrians subjectively estimate vehicle behaviour and whether they incorporate these estimations as part of their crossing decisions. For the first time, this study explores the impact of implicit communication signals on pedestrians’ subjective estimations of approaching vehicle behaviour across a wide range of experimental traffic scenarios and on their crossing decisions in the same scenarios through a comprehensive analysis. Two simulator tasks, namely a natural road crossing task and a vehicle behaviour estimation task, were designed with controlled time to collision, vehicle speed, and deceleration behaviour. A novel finding is that the correlation between crossing decisions and vehicle behaviour estimations depends on the traffic scenario. Pedestrians’ recognition of different deceleration behaviour aligned with their crossing decisions, supporting the notion that they actively estimate vehicle behaviour as part of their decision-making process. However, if the traffic gap was long enough, the effects of vehicle speed were the opposite between crossing decisions and estimations, suggesting that vehicle behaviour estimation may not directly impact crossing decisions when the time gap to the vehicle is large. We also found that pedestrians crossed the street earlier and estimated yielding behaviour more accurately in early-onset braking scenarios than in late-onset braking scenarios. Interestingly, vehicle speed significantly affected pedestrians’ estimations, with pedestrians tending to perceive low vehicle speed as yielding behaviour regardless of whether the vehicle yielded. Finally, we demonstrated that visual cue τ̇ is a practical indicator for controlling the vehicle deceleration evidence in the experiment. In conclusion, these findings reveal in detail the role of deceleration parameters as implicit communication signals between pedestrians and AVs, with implications for road crossing safety and the development of AVs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107173
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Early online date17 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


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