Culture Influences Pedestrian Behavior at Crosswalks, Study Says

The results of a recent study of pedestrian road crossing behavior suggests that the risks we take as walkers depend largely on our cultural context.

Researchers from France and Japan compared pedestrian behavior at one marked and one unmarked crossing each in the cities of Strasbourg, France, and Inuyama, Japan. The sites were nearly identical in terms of street width, traffic volume, and speed limit.

The behavior of pedestrians at the French and Japanese study locations, meanwhile, differed markedly. At the legal crosswalk in France, 67 percent of pedestrians crossed against the light. In Japan, only 7 percent of crossers disobeyed the crosswalk signals.

And the difference doesn’t just seem to be about whether or not pedestrians follow the rules. “Being a law-abiding citizen might explain the difference in walking at legal crossings,” writes Eric Jaffe, “but the difference that occurred at unmarked crossings suggests that some aversion to risk may play a role, too.” In Strasbourg, jaywalkers stepped into traffic when the space between cars lasted 9 seconds or longer. In Inuyama the threshold was 16 seconds.

Full Story: How You Cross the Street Largely Depends on Where You're From

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Book cover of Unsprawl

Unsprawl: Remixing Spaces as Places

Explore visionary, controversial and ultimately successful strategies for building people-centered places.
Starting at $12.95
Planetizen Courses image ad

Looking for the perfect last-minute gift?

A one-year subscription to Planetizen Courses is the gift that will continue giving all year long.
$144