Car Design and Road Crossing Behaviour

Klatt, Wilhelm; Chesham, Alvin; Bobst, Cora; Lobmaier, Janek (29 March 2015). Car Design and Road Crossing Behaviour. In: Annual Conference of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association (EHBEA). Helsinki, Finland. 29.03.-01.04.2015.

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Humans possess a highly developed sensitivity for facial features. This sensitivity is also deployed to non-human beings and inanimate objects such as cars. In the present study we aimed to investigate whether car design has a bearing on the behaviour of pedestrians.
Methods: An immersive virtual reality environment with a zebra crossing was used to determine a) whether the minimum accepted distance for crossing the street is bigger for cars with dominant appearance than for cars with friendly appearance (Block 1) and b) whether the speed of dominant cars are overestimated compared to friendly cars (Block 2). In Block 1, the participant's task was to cross the road in front of an approaching car at the latest moment. The point of time when entering and leaving the street was measured. In Block 2 they were asked to estimate the speed of each passing car. An independent sample rated dominant cars as being more dominant, angry and hostile than friendly cars.
Results: None of the predictions regarding the car design was confirmed. Instead, there was an effect of starting position: From the centre island, participants entered the road significantly later (smaller accepted distance) and left the road later than when starting from the pavement. Consistently, the speed of the cars was estimated significantly lower when standing on the centre island compared to the pavement. When entering the visual size of the cars as factor (instead of dominance), we found that participants started to cross the road significantly later in front of small cars compared to big cars and that the speed of smaller cars was overestimated compared to big cars (size-speed bias).
Conclusions: Car size and starting position, not car design seem to have an influence on road crossing behaviour.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology > Biologische Psychologie (SNF) [discontinued]
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Other Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Human Sciences
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Klatt, Wilhelm, Chesham, Alvin, Bobst, Cora, Lobmaier, Janek Simon


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health


Organisations 0 not found.




Wilhelm Klatt

Date Deposited:

22 Apr 2015 14:31

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:26

Uncontrolled Keywords:

car design, pedestrian crossing, size-speed bias




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