2016 - Research

Use of Google Street View to Assess Environmental Contributions to Pedestrian Injury

Key takeaway:

  • Virtual assessment of intersection characteristics could be a cost-effective and less time-consuming alternative to in-person visits to evaluate pedestrian safety.

Results:

  • Associations between street characteristics and injury counts using the virtual assessment was consistent with in-person studies.
  • Marked crosswalks and traffic islands were associated with higher injury counts, which researchers suggest could be due to higher overall numbers of crossings in these areas rather than increased risk.
  • The presence of billboards and bus stops were also associated with higher pedestrian injury counts, which researchers hypothesized could be connected to distractions from roadside advertising, or these features could correspond with other road engineering characteristics that increase risk.
  • Rates of pedestrian injury were lower at intersections with higher estimated pedestrian traffic.

Methods:

  • This study used Google Street View to conduct virtual streets audits of 536 intersections in New York City. Intersections were assessed on nine characteristics: crosswalks, curb cuts, billboards, sidewalk presence, sidewalk condition, road condition, pedestrian signals, traffic or pedestrian refuge, traffic calming devices, and bus stops.
  • Pedestrian injury data was gathered from pedestrian-vehicle collisions between 2007-2011.

Mooney, S. J., Dimaggio, C. J., Lovasi, G. S., Neckerman, K. M., Bader, M. D. M., Teitler, J. O., … Rundle, A. G. (2016). Use of Google Street View to Assess Environmental Contributions to Pedestrian Injury. American Journal of Public Health, 106(3), 462–469. http://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302978

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Authored by: 
Mooney
S. J.
Dimaggio
C. J.
Lovasi
G. S.
Neckerman
K. M.
Bader
M. D. M.
Teitler
J. O.
… Rundle
A. G.